“StudyNSW”, which should launch in 2013, would “coordinate promotion, marketing and policy development for international education”, said the government. This would involve marketing all education sectors under one state brand and launching a new website for prospective overseas students.
“Quality, industry-relevant education combined with adaptable modes of delivery will be key”
It would also guide government policy on enhancing the student experience – for instance addressing welfare, accommodation and safety issues that have dogged the sector in recent years.
But in a press release the country’s peak body for English language schools, English Australia, said it was “disappointed” that there would be no new funding for Study NSW. Providers would be expected to foot the bill for the new entity and key measures, such as the new website, were yet to be committed to financially, it said.
“Instead of committing to the new website, the government will conduct a “gap analysis” to identify the most effective promotional mechanism. Funding options will similarly be investigated,” it said.
“Key to establishing this body and its ongoing success will be a funding model that ensures this body is resourced effectively to deliver what is needed.”
37% of Australia’s education exports came from New South Wales in 2011-12. But while the state has seen enrolments slide since 2009 due to the pressures of a high dollar and competition from rivals such as Canada, the government says “opportunities for growth are significant”.
To tap this, the government has already confirmed the development of a “best practice” charter with Council for International Students Australia to ensure student welfare and concessions of up to 35% on state public transport, agreed in October.
Other proposals being considered include bolstering research capacity at universities; establishing awards for excellence in international student engagement; and improving employment opportunities for foreign graduates.
“The market for international students is increasingly competitive,” the government said explaining the plans. “Quality, industry-relevant education combined with adaptable modes of delivery will be key to the continued competitive advantage of our international education providers.”