What’s next for international education

It’s a big finish for CMM’s experts Zoom event

At 11.30 (AEST) what will work in engaging with alumni. Join Sarah Banks (Uni Melbourne), Jimmy Buck (Deakin U), Mikaeli Costello (Uni Queensland) and Susan Mills (Macquarie U).

And then at 1300 Iain Martin (VC Deakin U) and Erik Lithander (DVC Uni Auckland) on core issues – matching courses to what economies need and reducing university dependence on international student income
Details HERE.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

James Guthrie (Macquarie U) reports proposals to transform governance of Australia’s public universities.

plus Bradley Boron and Leonie Ellis (U Tas) on the way Zoom in the classroom creates opportunities for physical teaching space. Theirs is a new addition to Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning.

and Jack Breen (UNSW) looks at election advertising in social media. So far Labor is spending way most – but not on education messages.

with Merlin Crossley (UNSW) who explains why universities are  delivering more knowledge to more people they are not getting the credit they deserve.


Ukraine researchers count on Uni Sydney maths

Uni Sydney’s Mathematical Research Institute announces three Ukrainian researchers will visit for six months

SMRI says the intent is for Olena Dehtiar, Yulyia Mishura and Kostiantyn Ralchenko (all National University of Kyiv) to “temporarily continue their research in a secure and welcoming environment.”

They qualify for return air fares, $1000 per week, for accommodation and expenses and a family allowance, as needed, of up to A$1000 per month

Good thing to do. There are all sorts of statements in support of the Ukraine by universities and research associations (CMM March 7) but USMRI stands up.

Tech unis to trial national skills passport

For the handful of readers who missed Seven network breakfast TV yesterday, acting education minister Stuart Robert was on, spruiking a national record of everybody’s skills

It’s been an idea waiting for a while on an opportunity to implement it – in 2020 Peter Shergold proposed, a working-life record of achievements starting at school, to, “assist individuals to communicate their qualifications, learnings and experience as they move between pathways and change career directions” (CMM July 24 2020).

And now a proposed $5m trial by the  Australian Technology Network universities could start such a scheme. “Every single qualification that you could have will come together,” Mr Robert said.

Which would be really good – if it extends to cover completed micro-courses, and especially in VET, the vast amount of informal training. In 2019 2.6m people took non-qualification “training bundles” – commonly safety and skills maintenance required by regulation (CMM June 4 2021.

Mr Robert’s announcement appears to be an election promise, as distinct from the numerous funding commitments, presumably signed before caretaker, which ministers have made during the campaign.

Strike at Uni Sydney

Staff are out today and tomorrow

The industrial action follows an all but unanimous vote for protected industrial action by National Tertiary Education Union members as part of bargaining for a new enterprise agreement.

The union nominates maintaining the existing 40 per cent of time for research by continuing academics, work from home rights for professional staff and continuing jobs for now casual staff as among core issues (CMM April 14).

This is unlikely to be the beginning and end of industrial action by what is one of most militant NTEU branches in the country. Management will undoubtedly watch how many staff actually go out – but the union will stick to bargaining tough.

Challenges in international recruitment


the sector has a lot to think about as it pursues a more diverse, post-COVID future

After CMM’s conversation on Monday with leaders in the sector canvassing international education’s soft power role and the implications of the world not being at Fukuyama’s “end of history” – it is with some regret that my column today focuses on more mundane international education issues.

Conversations with leaders in the sector and recent media reports have given me pause to reflect on the sector’s approaches. Firstly a senior leader in the private international education sector (with extensive experience in China) is very bleak in his assessment of the short-medium future of the Chinese market for Australian universities.

Others clearly hold similar views as the sector shifts and some Australian universities previously heavily focussed on China are now reducing their fees and looking to scale up recruitment in India and other markets. Regrettably, with little experience in these markets, there are reports that some Australian universities have been hit very hard by visa fraud problems, particularly in India.

I note that the Association for Australian Education Representatives in India (AAERI) has launched a new Code of Conduct aimed at strengthening visa checking which is especially welcome after the visa frauds the US embassy alerted the Indian police to recently.

There are considerable risks to universities as they look to diversify, with many of the new markets they are looking to recruit students from categorised as higher risk by the Department of Home Affairs. Deep knowledge in these countries will not come quickly and it is likely that many will need expert partners on-the-ground to help them avoid reputational damage from poor recruitment decisions.

Returning to India, it is an ever more complex market for Australia following the news that the German and Indian governments have signed a “migration and mobility” partnership. With Germany offering fee-free tuition to all international (and domestic) students and increasingly teaching courses in English, it is unsurprising that in 2020 there were already more than 25,000 Indian higher education students in Germany. That compares with 79,200 Indian students in Australian higher education at the end of 2020.

Finally I note recent research from China, building on earlier research with Vietnamese students, showing the poor employment outcomes for many students who studied in Australia.

Collectively the sector has a lot to think about as it pursues a more diverse, post-COVID, future.

 Claire Field is an adviser to the tertiary education sector


The ABC’s Stan Grant becomes a part-time industry professor at UTS. He has previously been a professor of global affairs at Griffith U and presently has a vice chancellor’s chair at Charles Sturt U.