The Group of Eight unveiled elephants in a government consultation on increasing international enrolments in the regions. “While studying in the regions brings many advantages, so do the large metropolitan centres, and many students travel to Australia to experience life in our cities. We must be careful not to inadvertently damage our core attractiveness while attempting to broaden our appeal,” is how the Go8 announced elephant one.
And it illuminates elephant two – risks created by tinkering with immigration to assist regional universities. “The Go8 therefore urges caution in the way that international students are discussed in the context of migration settings, due to the high level of risk of inadvertent messaging.”
Overall, the Eight warns against, “any policies designed to impact the behaviour of international students must be found to bring national benefits that outweigh the risks.”
Of the Go8’s recommendations three urge the government not to do things. The other three suggest minimal measures.
* state and federal governments coordinate “existing activities”
* “maximise the benefit of the considerable footprint of many Australian education providers, including Go8 universities, across the regions, to encourage international students towards engaging in a regional experience”
* extend clinical placements in regions for international medical students.