South Australia, which currently has 32,089 international students studying in the state, or 5% of Australia’s share, has set a goal of increasing the number to over 64,000, “as soon as practicable”.
The action plan, in line with the government’s economic priority number 4, the “knowledge state”, will also help to meet the existing goal of increasing the number of international students in the state to 35,500 by 2017.
“The contribution of international students extends beyond the purely financial benefits of expenditure on education”
“As soon as practicable, South Australia should achieve a target of 64,500 international students studying in SA,” the plan said. “A 10% market share for international students based on national figures to the end of 2015.”
The action plan also outlines aims to grow the international education contribution to the state, which is worth just over $1.1bn to the South Australian economy.
If this target is reached, this would equate to an additional 8,400 jobs for South Australia.
“International education deserves its position as a key economic priority,” said Martin Hamilton-Smith, the minister for investment and trade.
“The contribution of international students extends beyond the purely financial benefits of expenditure on education, but also has indirect benefits with spend in retail, accommodation and tourism.”
Furthermore, it said government agencies “will be required to work more closely together with a business development focus designed to grow student numbers”.
The blueprint intends to prepare the state to compete against the countries largest international education markets in the east, New South Wales and Victoria.
“The latest reported increase of 8.3% is excellent, but we can do even better which is why we are engaging with all education sectors and investigating a number of initiatives to encourage students to come here to live and study in South Australia,” said Hamilton-Smith.
The plan also identifies further potential initiatives for international opportunities which will aim to make the marketing efforts more effective, including looking at diversifying markets, joint programmes and trade fairs.
A Ministerial Advisory Council will be formed in order to drive the policies as well as receive stakeholder feedback while a SA International Education Office will be established in order to coordinate the public bodies involved in international education and maximise efficiency for the limited state resources.