Ways to go on wooing international students

Submissions on the government’s new international education strategy consultation paper closed yesterday but what’s the rush? After all, the Budget states overseas students won’t be back in numbers this year

Timing isn’t the only issue with the paper, as the ever-understated Innovative Research Universities group points out. “The discussion paper highlights several important issues that need resolution before the strategy can develop further, whether it discusses these directly or equally importantly ignores them. Government commitments to their resolution are central to a viable meaningful strategy.”

And the IRU politely wonders whether the paper gets right all the issues to address. Thus, the lobby questions the importance of a “uniquely Australian” education experience. “The discussion paper provides little guidance to what a uniquely Australian education experience is or should be. The word ‘create’ implies that it does not yet exist, which would suggest that its importance to international education is modest.”

But what are important, the IRU suggests are;

* considering international students as a “migration opportunity,” “what is needed is for the Australian Government to articulate that there is a valuable link between an education service for many thousands of students from other countries and a proportion of them subsequently being accepted to stay in Australia as migrants.”

* a new approach to visas: “the strategy should ensure that the student visa programmes start from the assumption that recommended students are likely to be suitable.”

* new ways of delivering courses:  IRU members recognise the potential from the world market for on-line education while being alert to the many variations in interest for it according to country and different sets of people in target countries. … The discussion paper is largely silent about transnational education where universities provide on campus based education in other countries.”