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ACPET conference spotlights international ed

The Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET) National Conference welcomed Australia’s largest gathering of private tertiary education and training experts last week to its annual conference, with international education high on the agenda.

Min Park (centre) of Academia International accepting the ACPET award for International Provider of the YearMin Park (centre) of Academia International accepting the ACPET award for International Provider of the Year

“Many Australians still don’t fully appreciate that international education is one of our top five exports"

The body, which represents private providers from across the tertiary sector, brought together almost 500 delegates from industry, academia, politics and government to discuss how the sector was evolving “in an increasingly global marketplace”.

“Many Australians still don’t fully appreciate that international education is one of our top five exports,” ACPET CEO Claire Field said in a pre-conference statement. “As a nation we should be enormously proud of that, and I’m certainly proud that ACPET and its members are leading the industry in international education.”

Centre-stage issues included domestic funding reform and the shape of Australian tertiary education in years to come, with presentations “a blend of the practical, the political, of policy and compliance”, and covering domestic and offshore concerns.

Speakers included Kevin Brett, director of iGraduate Australia, on benchmarking student success, and US-based media guru Dave Remer on brand power. Providers were also recognised for their contributions to the sector in the ACPET awards.

Parliamentary Secretary for Tertiary Education and Skills, Gabrielle Upton, and ACPET CEO Claire Field at the conference

Field said the conference highlighted just how much private tertiary education – which ranges from HE to VET and international education – had matured. “This is a watershed conference for ACPET, not just because it marks our 20th anniversary as the voice of private tertiary education, but also because we have reached a turning point when private providers are moving from the margins of the tertiary sector into the mainstream,” she said.

“We have reached a turning point when private providers are moving from the margins of the tertiary sector”

Reflecting the growing international ambitions of its members, ACPET has broadened its presence abroad this year, launching its first office in China – praised by Minister for Tertiary Education and Skills, Senator Chris Evans during the conference. ACPET members currently host more than 180,000 international students and deliver education offshore in locations as diverse as Manhattan and Hyderabad, according to Field.

“The way we look at tertiary education continues to change, with an international approach to future education and skills demand increasingly important, particularly here within the Asia Pacific region,” she said.

During the event, the association hosted the ACPET Awards for Excellence. Pathway and VET specialist Academia International scooped International Provider of the Year (as pictured) and Higher Education Provider of the Year was Think Education Group. For more details of the winners, visit here.

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