More of the same from India

The existing business model could be as good as it gets

Catriona Jackson from Universities Australia, Luke Sheehy (Australian Technology Network) and Iain Martin (Deakin U and ATN) are in India this morning on a trade delegation.

This one is organised by AusTrade and led by Trade Minister Don Farrell. It follows Uni Melbourne’s Australia India Leadership Dialogue visit earlier this month, which included Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Uni Sydney vice chancellor, Mark Scott.

At less lofty levels universities, are furiously spruiking courses and setting up partnerships to rebuild their international numbers – one of the latest is a Uni South Australia team promoting its digital business course, in partnership with consulting giant Accenture (CMM September 6 2021), for on-line study and in Adelaide from next year.

All understandably so, as UA points out, 1 million Indians turn 18 every month.

But the vast, vast majority of them can’t be of interest to universities who want to rebuild their international student numbers in Australia.

To expand, really expand, Aus education in India requires major investment in establishing in-country – either in partnership, (alone for those who can find a way) or virtually.

The previous government talked a small game on how to do this. “Work with providers to encourage Indian students to study in a wider variety of courses, including through digital and blended modes of delivery that utilise advances in edtech. Innovative models of education delivery will help facilitate the skilling of diverse students and ready mobility to meet future skills needs,” was proposed in its update  to the 2018  Varghese strategy on trading with India.

Good-o, but as Mr Varghese pointed out in the original,  “foreign universities face a historical reluctance from Indian parents pay large sums of money for their child’s education in India.” As for on-line, Australian cost structures will make for hard competition from local low-cost providers.