As global education faced an immense slowdown due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, many countries were hit hard. Transnational education developments, international student recruitment and broader internationalisation steps that were in existence, have been pushed back. However, with the situation rapidly improving, many countries are now focused on international opportunities and increasing their international activity.
Australia, having just recently ushered in a new government, is strongly focused on creating new opportunities for global education. To this end, the newly elected Minister of Education, Jason Clare, has stated that a reset of the existing system with large reforms is underway.
The highly aggressive plans aim to create specialised bodies solely to facilitate and support the internationalisation of Australian education. Moreover, Minister Clare has also vowed to create lasting reforms that can bring in a paradigm shift to help promote and further grow the Australian education system.
As stated by Minister Clare, there is a large amount of rebuilding that is required due to issues created in recent years. Primarily blame has been placed on the pandemic and the treatment of international students during that difficult time. For example, during early outbreaks in 2020, the previous government was unwilling to help international students and encouraged students to return to their home countries.
As the closed borders and lack of focus on international students continued, the international acceptance and enthusiasm for Australian education faced negative repercussions. Many students were put into a financial crunch of having to support themselves and their education without part-time work opportunities and a lack of assistance. Testament to this, recent studies have shown Australia falling from its once high position for international education.
As a result of this, Australia has also seen a significant financial loss in the education sector. The once $40 billion industry has now been nearly halved to approximately $22 billion in 2022.
Plans For The Future
With the new Australian government’s determined focus on solving these issues and promoting positive relations with neighbouring countries and international students, many aspects of improvement have been highlighted by the new government as key pillars. Some of the most prominent are as follows:
Jobs For International Students
Apart from providing educational opportunities to international students, the Australian government is also aiming to utilise their talents to fill skill gaps. Not only does this aid the Australian economy, but it can also provide additional motivation for international admissions.
Educational Relationship With Neighboring Countries
Synonymous with current plans, Australia is also looking to develop stronger international education relationships with neighbouring countries. This involves important bilateral plans including Australia’s meeting with the Indian education minister in August to forge stronger relationships. This will both aid in university partnerships, and is also an opportunity to develop a foundation of clear routes to Australian education for Indian students. Initiatives with India include an extra A$7.8 million (£4.4 million) towards the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund, which helps link universities, research institutions and “end users” of scientific innovation in both countries.
Diversification Of International Education
Diversifying the existing educational infrastructure is another future focus for Australia. This entails a plethora of routes such as online education designed to provide a wider range of options to international and local students alike.