Productivity Commission research released today rightly highlights the complexities the university sector faces in ensuring the sustainability of international education in Australia.
It is vital we can do so, as international education is Australia’s third largest export industry, contributing $17 billion to the Australian economy in 2014.
Currently one third of all international higher education students in Australia choose a Go8 University. For international HDR students that figure is 47 percent. Importantly the Go8 is committed to enrolling and educating quality students, both national and international, and to delivering quality graduates who are respected for their abilities, and their leadership qualities, around the world.
The Go8 therefore supports measures outlined by the Productivity Commission that can mitigate risks to sustainability, and echo its call for caution in the expansion of Streamlined Visa Processing (SVP) arrangements.
The Productivity Commission research also refers to anecdotal issues in the admission of international students via agents. It does not conclude that such issues are systemic. Go8 universities make no apology for utilising the on-the-ground skills of overseas agents to assist us choose our students. However, at all times our global reputation is paramount. We do not allow it to be tarnished. For that reason, Go8 universities act swiftly to address any issues that are brought to their attention.
The Go8 maintains that our commitment is enhanced, not damaged, by Go8 member universities’ management of the International student market which, at the institutional level, separates the work of agents from admissions decisions.
The competitive nature of the market means Universities must deliver what they promise, in the right environment, and at the right cost to the student. If that trust is breached then a University will see declining International enrolments, to the detriment of its ability to deliver quality outcomes for all students. Universities in the UK and the US are more than eager to take a much larger share of the market should Australian standards fall.
Go8 universities work extremely hard to ensure this cannot occur and Australia lose its position as a student destination of choice.
Contact: Vicki Thomson, Group of Eight Chief Executive on +61 417 808 472