Minister Tudge sets-out what’s next for international education

The boom won’t be back

A year to go: In a speech at RMIT this morning the education minister will set Semester One next year as the expected start of international student arrivals “in large numbers.” Mr Tudge’s text states that by mid-year there will be “more clarity” on vaccination preventing transmission and any system of vaccination certificates.

He adds that while he has discussed plans for earlier student quarantine with state and territory governments and university leaders, “to date (I) have not received any concrete proposal.”

But not more of the same: However, Mr Tudge makes it plain that even when international students can return he does not want a return of the pre-pandemic boom, stating, “the relentless drive for revenue in order to fund research (which then drives global rankings)” let students down. “Having up to 60 per cent of a classroom with international students from just one or two other countries is not optimising the Australian student experience – or the international student experience.”

The minister also wants less reliance core country markets and more diversity in what internationals study. “Currently almost half of international enrolments at universities are concentrated in commerce, while fields like engineering, maths, technology and health attract significantly lower enrolment shares than the OECD average.”

New, products, new markets: While study in Australia, “will continue to be a core offering,” Mr Tudge also wants Australian providers to diversify products, providing courses in growth markets. “The global on-line e-learning market is forecast to grow from $130 billion to more than $470 billion by 2026. This growth is driven by students around the world seeking lower-cost education, as well as greater flexibility in how and where they learn,” he says.

And he points to meeting markets through on-line delivery and/or hybrid learning models for full courses and/or micro-credentials “at different price offerings.”

Getting there: Work starts on a decadal international education strategy. The consultation process will be released this morning.