October 30, 2012

IEAA glad to announce that after lobbying number of years, Australian NSW Government agreed to give student travel discounts for International Students.  The NSW Government has announced public transport fare discounts for international students as part of ongoing efforts to promote the State as a world-class location for international education.

 

Premier Barry O’Farrell made the announcement in India, where he is currently promoting NSW’s education credentials as part of a trade mission, while Acting Premier and Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Stoner was joined at the University of Sydney by Parliamentary Secretary for Tertiary Education and Skills Gabrielle Upton and Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Garton.

“International education is the State’s second biggest industry in terms of exports – worth $6 billion,” Mr O’Farrell said. “We have world-class universities, vocational institutions and research organisations, but we need to do more to attract international students seeking high quality education, cultural and employment experience. “The travel concessions announced today will increase the attraction of NSW as an ideal location for further education and provide better access to safe and affordable public transport options for overseas students.”

Mr Stoner said the changes mean international students will soon have access to public transport travel discounts of up to 35 per cent. “Enhancing NSW’s reputation as a highly regarded location for international education and research will be critical to our efforts to position the NSW economy for growth in the next decade,” Mr Stoner said.

“The new travel concessions are a direct response to a recommendation from the NSW Government’s International Education and Research Taskforce which released its final report today.”

Mr Stoner said the Taskforce’s final report outlines 21 specific recommendations for Government and Industry to help position NSW as a global leader in international education by 2021. “We have already begun acting on a number of matters highlighted by the Taskforce, with the NSW Strategy for Business Migration & Attracting International Students released earlier this year calling for the extension of streamlined visa processing and post study work rights for a broader pool of overseas students based in NSW,” Mr Stoner said. “Our full response to the Taskforce’s final report will be released soon, but our announcement today is a first step towards making NSW a more attractive international education destination.

“International students will have access to potential discounts of up to 35 per cent on MyMulti passes offering periodic unlimited travel on buses, trains, light rail and ferries in Greater Sydney, the Hunter and the Illawarra. “The discounts allow for potential savings of more than $800 on an annual MyMulti3 pass and more than $450 on an annual MyMulti2. Overseas students can also save more than $200 on a MyMulti3 90 day pass and $133 on a MyMulti2 90 day pass. “The savings can apply to all travel, not simply travel to and from students’ place of study, so this provides a fantastic opportunity for students to get out and explore Sydney and NSW.”

Ms Upton said the Taskforce’s final report identified a range of challenges and opportunities facing the NSW international education sector. “While the market for international students is increasingly competitive, opportunities for growth are enormous with global demand for international higher education forecast to grow from 2.2 million in 2005 to 3.7 million in 2025. China, India, Malaysia and Indonesia are predicted to account for over 60 per cent of this growth,” Ms Upton said.

“The final report of the NSW Government’s International Education and Research Taskforce outlines a range of measures Government and Industry can take to position NSW as a significant global player and Australia’s leading State for international education and research. “The report calls for the NSW Government to ramp up its efforts to lobby for Federal level improvements to the quality of teaching, courses and research. “The quality of the total student experience is also identified as a key target for improvement, with Government asked to consider issues including affordable accommodation and transport, access to part time employment, industry placements while studying, and employment on completion of study.

“The Taskforce also recommends creation of a new agency to provide a one-stop-shop for information for international students and to drive implementation of a range of other recommendations on issues including quality, migration, post study work rights and levels of research funding.”

For more information, please read the attached media release.

September 5, 2012

Australian universities ranked amongst the best in the world

 

Five Australian universities have been ranked amongst the world’s top 100 according to the latest Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU),  released this month.

 

In 2012,

  • The University of Melbourne (57),
  • The Australian National University (64),
  • The University of Queensland (90),
  • The University of Sydney (93) and
  • The University of Western Australia (96)

were listed amongst the world’s best.

 

This year’s rankings indicate the relative strength of the Australia’s university system and reflect the sector’s significant investment in continuous improvement; in 2012, Australia was just one of two countries to increase the number of universities represented in the top 100.

 

Welcoming the news, Chief Executive of Universities Australia, Belinda Robinson, said the country’s improved standings in the 2012 ARWU is apt recognition of the high-quality of Australian research and teaching programs.

 

“This is an outstanding result for Australia and demonstrates the nation’s commitment to having a world class university system providing teaching and research at the highest levels,” said Ms Robinson

 

“Universities’ central role in creating opportunities for all Australians to study in a world class higher education system should be acknowledged and celebrated,” Ms Robinson said.

 

Source: Austrade, 5 September 2012

March 9, 2012

 

THE Federal Government is likely to shift its focus for university funding to completions rather than enrolments in its response to a base funding review.

Tertiary Education Minister Chris Evans says the sector already knows he wants to make this shift.

He believes it will help keep quality high in the new era of demand-driven government funding for undergraduate places that began this year.

The Group of Eight, which represents Australia’s eight top research universities, has released a policy paper that says offering more places meant more students who were not well academically prepared would enter higher education.

There was clear evidence that students with lower entrance scores were more likely to drop out of university courses before finishing.

Senator Evans said the notion that opening up access would result in lower quality university education was insulting to universities and insulting to students.

But he agreed there would need to be more support for those students.

“We will have to put greater emphasis on transitional support for some of those students to focus on teaching and learning,” he said at a Universities Australia conference in Canberra on Wednesday.

“I’m looking to refocus funding on completions rather than just commencement to make sure the signals to the sector are strong that the purpose of these reforms is to produce graduates not to produce enrolments.

“If we take the right policy measures to support students we’ll get strong completion rates and we’ll get people who never otherwise would have had the chance going to university.”

The tight fiscal environment prevented him from promising more money for preparatory or transition courses.

But he said many universities already were doing good work in that area and he promised to give it priority in the coming year.

“We can grow and access equity without losing a strong focus on excellence,” Senator Evans said.

“These are not contradictory or mutually-exclusive goals.”

The Government released the independent base funding review in December. It will respond in the next couple of months.

Source:  AAP March 07, 2012

February 16, 2012

The changes are in response to the immigration department’s 2011 review of student visa assessment level settings.

INTERNATIONAL students will more easily be able to apply for visas following changes announced by Federal Immigration and Citizenship Minister, Chris Bowen.

The changes, welcomed by the higher education sector, mean the number of assessment levels across a range of student visa subclasses will be reduced, making the visa application process easier for students from 29 countries.

The changes, which will take effect from March 24, are in response to the immigration department’s 2011 review of student visa assessment level settings.

“While it was recommended that some assessment levels be increased, I have decided to only implement the reductions in order to best support Australia’s international education sector,” Mr Bowen said.

Mr Bowen said the changes would help around 10,500 prospective students.

“These changes will particularly benefit the postgraduate research sector, English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students and vocational education and training providers.”

For example, South Koreans studying VET and ELICOS courses and postgraduate research students from China, India and Indonesia will now find it easier to apply for visas, Mr Bowen said.

Universities Australia welcomed the changes to the student visa system as “a terrific outcome”.

“It really is a terrific outcome not just for the higher education sector but for the Australian economy more broadly because at a time we’re seeing manufacturing struggling, tourism struggling, both primarily because of the strong Australian dollar, it’s really important for those industries that are strong to be able to step up to offset some of those economic implications,” said Universities Australia chief executive, Belinda Robinson.

“The international education sector is Australia’s third largest export industry, and over the 2010-11 period international higher education students spent an average of $38,000 each in this country on goods, services and fees.

“And as well the stronger our international education industry is, the more affordable education is for Australian students.”

Meanwhile a new report released by ranking provider QS (Quacquarelli Symonds Limited) found Australian cities are among the most attractive study destinations in the world.

Using scores that take into account student mix, affordability, quality of living and employer activity, as well as their own QS World University Rankings, the company compiled a top fifty list of the ”best student cities”.

Ms Robinson said that according to QS, Australia had more cities than any other country in the world listed in the top 50, making it one of the world’s most favourable study environments.

If “affordability” was removed as a criterion, Melbourne and Sydney would be ranked at number 1 and 4 respectively.

“While it may be a little more expensive to live and study in Australia, the quality of living, employment opportunities, student mix and the quality of universities makes Australia a very appealing place for those seeking to study abroad,” Ms Robinson said.

Source: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au 16 February 2012

January 25, 2011

 

New research shows international students’ level of satisfaction with Australian education is on the rise.

According to The National Survey of International Students Studying in Australia report,

  • 84% of international students were satisfied or
  • very satisfied with their study experience and 86% with their living experience in Australia.

“It was also encouraging to find that more than 85% of students were satisfied or very satisfied with the level of support they received on arrival, confirming Australia’s reputation as a country that welcomes international students,” said Minister for Tertiary Education, Senator Chris Evans.

In the latest survey, conducted from late 2009 to mid 2010, the top four factors influencing tertiary students’ decision to study in Australia were:

  • quality of teaching (94% of respondents);
  • reputation of the qualification from their chosen education institution (93%);
  • personal safety (92%), and;
  • reputation of the institution (91%).

The overview report is available at www.aei.gov.au

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