The talks occurred as part of the process towards finalising Australia’s national strategy for international education – the draft strategy was released earlier this year.
Over 100 international education stakeholders, students, government representatives and business experts met at Parliament House as part of the strategy’s consultation process.
“There was a strong emphasis on the need for initiatives to promote to business the value and appeal of employing international students”
Christopher Pyne, the minister for education and training, encouraged stakeholders to “bring their ideas to the table to help grow Australia’s reputation as a world leader in international education, and to set a clear path for further growth”.
He added: “This forum will help set the vision for Australian international education moving forward and enable us to take a deeper dive on important issues shared with us by the sector.”
According to Belinda Robinson, chief executive of Universities Australia and member of the Coordinating Council for International Education, said that the discussions were based on what the previous roundtable in June highlighted as “being underdone in the national strategy”.
These include the student living and learning experience, continuous learning in international education and connecting international students with Australian students and communities.
“There was a strong emphasis on the need for initiatives to promote to business the value and appeal of employing international students and embedding international education into the cultural, social and economic fabric of the country,” she told The PIE News.
Other topics of discussion included the welcome international students receive alongside their experience and how they engage with domestic students and communities.
“Promoting and celebrating international education pathway opportunities from school through to vocational and higher education was also emphasised,” Robinson said.
Stakeholders also said that national research capability plays a “critical role… in cementing our reputation as a destination of choice for students, and researchers”, she reported.
These topics will be taken into consideration when the strategy is decided.
International education is Australia’s fourth largest export, generating A$18.1bn last year alone.
“It was a testament to the whole-of-government commitment to international education that four senior government representatives, including three cabinet ministers, attended this roundtable,” said Robinson.
“They all spoke passionately about the individual, economic and social and cultural transformative influence that international education has had, and of their personal support for it becoming ever-more deeply embedded into our national psyche.”
The national strategy for international education is expected to be finalised later this year.