In just a few months the vulnerabilities of the nation’s multi-billion-dollar education sector have been laid bare and forced providers to consider their international strategy.

Education is Australia’s largest services export, valued at $35.2 billion, with many programmes centered around bringing students onshore.

Student numbers in Australia are down about 30 percent including more than 100,000 Chinese students stranded offshore.  And Curtin University estimates the loss of international student income could be as high as $2.5 billion in 2020.

The students that remain are being given material support and a “virtual campus” model, however, the sector is also looking to future recovery.

Indonesia is already a focus of the sector’s diversification efforts, with several Australian universities and vocational education providers actively in-country, testing and implementing various models to deliver their courses. And with the economic agreement to come into in early July there are hopes of further opportunities,

An institutional strategy will need to consider three things if considering Indonesia in its mix.

First, it needs to be part of a long game with institutions prepared to invest time, effort and resources to build connections and increase their profile.

Second, institutions need to consider creative approaches to programme delivery.  There are a few successful examples where providers have worked with government departments on training solutions or niche consulting. While others have sought out industry groups or private partners to access the student market.

Third, any programmes delivered in-country need to respond to Indonesia’s national priority to up-skill a young nation.  COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of education technology to health care, digital, logistics and supply chain skills training.

On May 27, the Australia-Indonesia Centre is holding a webinar to explore a range of issues from the lens of three key areas – higher education, vocational education and training, and education technology.

Webinar registration link

Eugene Sebastian and Helen Brown,

Australia-Indonesia Centre


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