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Successful int’l strategies link education, industry and government

A trend shared by the world’s top study destinations is the development of national international education initiatives. But what makes for a good strategy? Assimilation with the government and industry, argues a report from the British Council.

Australia has been lauded for its international education strategy, which saw extensive consultation with other industries. Photo: Simon Birmingham, minister for education and training/Knowledge Society.

The how and why of internationalisation strategies are diverse, the report notes

It adds that strategies which are accompanied with a variety of complimentary policies like residence rights and post-study work, “are essential to the long-term growth and investment in the sector”.

The Global race for international students, analyses national internationalisation strategies from 10 countries: Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, the UAE and the US.

It outlines that those which are integrated with the national targets of other industries are, on the whole, more comprehensive than those which aren’t.

“A nation’s education industry is key to its economic prosperity”

“The most sophisticated policies, such as those in Australia and Canada, are those that link mobility to broader conceptions of globalisation and advancement,” it says. “And reflect the perspective that internationalised higher education applies to and benefits all sectors.”

The initiatives most beneficial to other sectors carry out extensive consultations with the country’s industries and businesses, it observes.

For example, the Australian education sector is “well integrated with other industries and its internationalisation policies reflect close ties with diplomatic and business areas” the report says.

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Tertiary Education Strategy 2014-2019 was developed in line with the government’s own Business Growth Agenda.

According to the report, New Zealand’s strategy calls on education institutions to “further develop their relationship in key markets, form strategies for growth in line with government plans, provide a welcoming and high-quality experience for international students, expand transnational education initiatives and provide internationally-recognised qualification to students.”

Many of the internationalisation strategies examined include an international student enrolment target and a deadline to meet it.

This target, says the report, sends “a signal to students and competitor destinations that it is serious about its international students.”

With a target of 720,000 onshore students by 2025, Australia’s international education 2025 roadmap is the highest across all countries studied in the report.

The next highest target was set by China, which is aiming for 500,000 international students by 2020. China recently unveiled its National Plan for Medium- and Long-term Education Reform and Development 2010-2020, as well as Guidelines on Works in Opening Up the Education Sector in the New Era.

These initiatives call for a number of actions, including improving international collaboration, mutual recognition of qualifications and joint research partnerships.

With the third highest target, France set a recruitment goal of 20% more international students than its current intake by 2025, meaning 470,000 international students in less than 10 years.

“The most sophisticated policies … are those that link mobility to broader conceptions of globalisation and advancement”

“A nation’s education industry is key to its economic prosperity as well as its long-term international diplomacy, innovation and arts and culture,” commented Zainab Malik, research director at the British Council.

“Attracting internationally mobile students is pivotal to giving graduates the skills necessary to excel in a shifting economy.

Government, the higher education sector and industry all benefit from joining together to create supportive policies that, in the end, provide students with the best opportunities for success.”

The how and why of internationalisation strategies are diverse, the report notes. Motivations range from a desire to internationalise home students to aiming to bring greater economic benefits into the country.

France’s plan in particular, was established as an ‘emergency’ internationalisation strategy, signifying that the education industry is being prioritised.

While not having an all-encompassing internationalisation strategy, Japan’s internationalisation initiatives are driven by the desire to ensure “full capacity at the higher education and workforce levels, and to address labour shortages in-country,” the report says.

But as patterns of student mobility evolve, and education is increasingly delivered through TNE and digital channels, the report states that “national policies outlined in this report will necessarily have to grow and be adjusted to envelop an even larger scope of strategies.”

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