The Australian Government plans to invest $10 million in six new initiatives to assist the international education sector to position for the future.
This investment is to support the implementation of the Australian Strategy for International Education 2021-2030.
Acting Minister for Education and Youth Stuart Robert said in a statement these initiatives would complement existing initiatives to grow the sector, which has been hit hard by COVID-19.
“Australia is an attractive place to study for international students. However, the pandemic has had a significant impact on student numbers putting Australia’s international education sector under immense strain.”
Minister Robert further adds:
“That’s why the new strategy is so important and today’s announcement will support a range of initiatives that will further help Australia to reaffirm its position as a global leader in innovative, high-quality international education.”
In addition to the $45.2 million of support measures announced alongside the new strategy, this $10 million worth of initiatives will be funded under the International Education Innovation Fund.
As per the statement, these initiatives will support the international education sector to reach new markets and pilot innovative new products.
This fund will also help align local educational opportunities with Australia’s identified skills shortages.
Funded initiatives include:
- $2.2 million to support post-doctoral placements in Australia for the best and brightest international students from across the region. This will complement the Government’s recently announced National Industry PhD Program under the $2.2 billion Research Commercialisation Action Plan.
- $450,000 to identify opportunities for diversification across the international education sector to improve business resilience and student experience.
- $1.5 million to pilot innovative transnational education products to help Australian providers to identify and leverage emerging offshore opportunities. Pilots will be delivered in partner countries across South East Asia, Latin America, South Asia and North Asia.
- $1.3 million to pilot a set of VET micro-credentials targeted at international students to meet identified skills gaps. This will work alongside the Government’s new $8 million
micro-credentials initiative for tertiary providers, deepening market access for Australian VET providers.
- $4.25 million to deliver critical skills courses in partner countries, supporting Australian education providers to expand offshore delivery and build partnerships with industry.
- $300,000 to develop a best practice guide for the sector on international student engagement.
Minister Robert observes that this strategy was the result of extensive public consultation about the future of Australian international education.
As per the government note, all initiatives draw on advice from the Expert Members of the Council for International Education, with outcomes supporting priorities under the new strategy.
In the 2019-20 financial year, the Indian student market was estimated to be worth 6.6 billion dollars to the country’s economy.
India makes up 21 per cent of international students and is also widely considered by experts as a potentially important source of both increased international student and migrant flow in the future.
However, Covid-19 border closures for more than two years resulted in a decrease in international student enrolments in the Australian higher education sector.
Minister Robert is hopeful that the International Education Innovation Fund will provide an important next step to recover and grow Australia’s largest services sector.