The Australian government recently declared a $10 million investment in an International Education Fund to support activities under the country’s International Education Strategy 2021-2030, according to Stuart Robert, Australia’s acting minister for Education and Youth.
In addition to the $45.2 million in stimulus packages revealed with the new plan, the Australian government will now deliver $10 million in initiatives financed through the International Education Innovation Fund. These strategies will assist the international education sector in entering new markets, testing creative new products, and aligning educational possibilities with Australia’s identified skill gaps.
“The strategy was the outcome of considerable public input concerning the future of Australian foreign education,” Robert added. He went on to say that the International Education Innovation Fund is “a critical next step in recovering and growing Australia’s largest services sector.”
The international education sector has applauded the government’s investment in the sector’s recovery following the pandemic and in the coming years. Phil Honeywood, CEO of the International Education Association of Australia, who convened the Expert Members of the country’s Council for International Education and played a key role in the formulation of Australia’s 10-year international education strategy, shared his keen insight on this topic with The PIE.
IEAA, like many other stakeholders, appreciates the government’s long-overdue investment package to help our distressed international education community. There are two essential financial components that should be mentioned. The first is a $10 million investment in six major initiatives resulting from the proposals of our new National Strategy 2021-2030.
Funding for piloting innovative TNE products, delivering vital skills courses in partner countries, and developing a best practice guide for international student involvement is especially welcome. A proposed $8 million fund to generate up to 70 micro-credentials for international delivery is also very welcome. These will be intended for online and off-site delivery and will be aimed at both domestic and international students.
These will be intended for online and off-site delivery and will be aimed at both domestic and international students. It is envisaged that they would serve as a conduit for international students to be introduced to the Australian education system and encouraged to continue their studies with one of our education providers.
The $10 million funds will focus on supporting postdoctoral postings for the region’s finest and brightest foreign students, exploring the potential for diversification in the international education industry, and launching innovative transnational education products. In addition to conducting key skills courses in partner countries and establishing a best practice guide for the sector on international student engagement, it will aim to launch a pilot of a set of VET micro-credentials aimed at foreign students to address identified skill gaps.
The government’s latest promise to fund $10 million in new international education programs acknowledges the impact of Covid-19 and is a vital first step toward a collaborative strategy to rebuilding our sector. The Go8 is especially pleased to see support for post-doctoral placements for overseas students, recognizing the crucial value of research expertise to Australian business and the economy.
“While we support the need for new and innovative products, it also makes sense to build on the success of existing programs, such as the New Colombo Plan, which could be adapted to feature two-way reciprocal elements and extended to regions beyond the Asia-Pacific, including Latin America,” Thomson noted.
According to a spokeswoman for Universities Australia, the organization “welcomes the government’s announcement of six new initiatives to promote the implementation of the Australian Strategy for International Education 2021-2030.”
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