In 2019, Australia’s largest services export was international education. Though the industry was significantly impacted by the pandemic in 2020, Australia supported international students with flexible visa options throughout the pandemic. To continue to support international education, Australia has introduced the Strategy for International Education (ASIE) 2021-2030. This post-pandemic government plan supports the future of the education industry in innovative ways by focusing on four main pillars:
- Alignment with Australia’s workforce and skills needs
- Keeping students at the center
- Growth and global competitiveness
Diversification is a key goal for the Australian government when compared to other destination markets. The government plans to utilize hybrid online education models that offer more flexibility than traditional in-country education, protect against foreign government policy shifts while improving student experiences, and help their respective partner countries meet their own education needs. In a recent campaign, Australia secured 836,000 enrolments in affordable online courses through Australian providers.
Alignment with Australia’s Workforce and Skills Needs
Australia is a popular destination for students enrolling in business and commerce programs, who made up nearly half of all international enrolments at Australian universities in 2020. Skills such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and digitization are being prioritized to boost the Australian workforce. The government plans to develop targeted career initiatives such as their Skilled Migration Program, an immigration stream that allows graduates to apply for residential and employment pathways.
Students at the Centre in Australia
To ensure that international students remain supported, the Australian government is working on expanding mental health services that meet language and cultural diversity needs. Furthermore, the government is creating stronger links between institution campuses and local communities for increased social cohesion and cultural sharing.
Growth and Competitiveness
Competition in the international education sector has increased significantly over the past decade. In response, Australia is planning an in-depth review of the Education Services for Overseas Students Act (ESOS Act) in an effort to improve high-quality offshore learning. Furthermore, the government will ensure migration policies remain flexible post-pandemic, including graduate work permits and extra visa options.
Other Targeted Measures
As part of the release of ASIE 2021–2030, the Australian government announced a focused budget to support the international education sector. The budget includes an AU$8 million contribution to support micro-credentials implementation as well as AU$9 million put into targeted, short-term support for private ELICOS providers.
Australia Could Recover Quicker Than Expected
Although Australia’s borders opened later than other destination markets, these new government strategies set an optimistic tone for their international education sector. With students able to travel to Australia again, as well as an array of hybrid courses available, We expects to see a boom of enrolment in 2022 and 2023.
Culled from Apply-board Insight Digest.