The Morrison Government’s announcement today of $10 million to support a new international education strategy is a welcome boost for an export sector that has been decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The past two years have been absolutely devastating for our international education sector. Funding to encourage more students to study here is fundamental to re-building the sector and securing Australia’s economic recovery,” Andrew McKellar, chief executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said.
“Our higher education system is one of our most important exports. Prior to the pandemic, over 750,000 full fee-paying international students were enrolled in our universities, schools, and colleges, contributing $40 billion to the Australian economy.
“For Australia to compete in the highly competitive international student market, we need to be a destination of choice offering for students who have many options.
“This new funding will see more post-doctoral placements within Australia, support for diversification across the international education sector and will allow Vocational Education and Training (VET) providers to help plug some of the key skills gap areas through offering skill sets and shorter programs.
“The opportunity for our educational providers to expand overseas through the development of pilot programs will be invaluable in helping to promote our exceptional educational offerings and will add to our international reputation as well as to encourage more students to come and learn down under.
“International students are not just vital for our education system and our economy generally. They are an important part of the labour market while they work and study and if they stay in Australia post-study they fill important skill needs. Prior to the pandemic, up to 400,000 international students supplemented our workforce, and encouraging their return will help with the current severe labour shortages.