Going to the top of the class
Monish Paul discusses how you can catch the international education wave
Education is an enabler of productivity and growth for virtually every part of the Australian economy
The future potential is enormous as the emerging economies of today will become the knowledge economies of tomorrow. Global demand for educational services is about to soar as a result, and is expected to swell by about 7% a year between now and 2020. Teaching foreign students is Australia’s fourth-biggest export earner, generating $15 billion a year in income and employing about 100,000 Australian.(1) Growth in this industry has increased expertise and infrastructure, creating economies of scale over and above those usually available to a nation of 23 million people.
(1) Research Snapshot, Australian Education International, May 2013.
Positioning for prosperity?
Australia is at a critical juncture in its education policy. On the one hand, effective and targeted changes could deliver significant benefits in terms of global competitiveness and export earnings, while providing the skills needed to enable other parts of the economy. On the other, the sector is facing serious challenges that will require bold action. Some important questions to address here are:
- How can we tailor courses to meet the needs of foreign students, especially in areas of unique strength such as dry-land agriculture, the environment and engineering?
- Are there ways to lift the quality of our teaching staff, for instance, by improving the status of educators at home or looking overseas for teachers, especially those with Asian perspectives?
- Could we do more to forge links between Australian educational facilities and overseas leaders to ensure we can offer superior higher educational ‘products’ in a more global and digital marketplace?
- How can we reduce red tape and restrictive visa rules that inhibit student migration? In particular, how can we retain top performers in Australia?
- Could we combat the perception that Australia is a high-cost place to study, by better articulating the value that students gain by studying here?
- Would we benefit from proactively adopting enabling technologies – such as MOOC collaboration middleware and broadband – to facilitate research, meet overseas students’ expectations and help Australian institutions to remain globally competitive?
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National Leader, International education
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