The UK and Canada are innovative and aggressive in their pursuit of international education – reminding Australia that if we regard international education as “just a transaction and revenue opportunity”, we might see decline in future.
First, from the UK:
Ambitions to grow international student numbers by 30% and boost the economic impact of the industry to £35bn annually by 2030 are at the centre of the new UK International Education Strategy. This is huge!
Among the key points of the strategy is an extension of the post-study work visa “to ensure the UK continues to attract and welcome” international students, and plans to improve the visa process and support student employability. Warning Australia – improve the work prospects for international students or expect a backlash.
Other propositions include the appointment of a new International Education Champion to develop global partnerships, tighter collaboration across government department on international education policy and a call for sector groups to bid into the £5m GREAT Challenge Fund to promote the UK internationally.
Current UK numbers are 458,000 international students – increasing to 600,000 under the plan. That’s competition for Australia.
Second, to Canada:
The government proposes to invest CA$147m and $8m per year after that to support work and study opportunities abroad, with the development of an outbound student mobility program, and to promote Canadian education abroad with a focus on its quality. Love this combination!
“In an increasingly global economy and labour market, Canadian youth need to develop a range of skills. These include adaptability, fluency in more than one or two languages and inter-cultural skills—skills that are best fostered through international experiences, such as travelling, studying and working overseas,” the budget text read.
“The investment…will give more students – including those from marginalised backgrounds – the international study and work opportunities so highly sought by Canadian employers,” a Universities Canada spokesperson said.
What should Australia do?
- Improve employment rights for international students
- Use international students (paid) to teach us their language and culture
- Add value by increasing employability skills of international students
- See students as a long term resource, building a bridge to key economies
What are your thoughts?