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.

November 3, 2011

Norway, Australia and the Netherlands lead this year’s newly released Human Development Index (HDI) rankings, the annual United Nations measure of progress in human well-being, while the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Niger and Burundi are at the bottom.

 

The HDI, issued today by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), combines measures of life expectancy, literacy, school enrolment and gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. This year a record 187 countries and territories were measured – up from 169 last year.

 

Norway retained its top position from last year, ahead of Australia and then the Netherlands, while the United States, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Germany and Sweden comprise the remainder of the top 10 in that order.

 

But when the HDI is adjusted for economic inequality, Australia becomes number 1 in the world with 0.979 over 1, and New Zealand #2 with 0.978 and Norway # 3 with 0.975.

 

While Australia becomes number one,  standings of some countries fall significantly. The US falls from 4 to 23, the Republic of Korea (ROK) from 15 to 32, and Israel from 17 to 25.

 

In the case of the US and Israel, their positions are affected by income inequality, although health care is also an influencing factor for the US, while education gaps between generations are the main reason for the ROK’s ranking change.

 

In contrast, other countries’ standings improve after the HDI has been adjusted for inequality. Sweden jumps from 10 to five, Denmark from 16 to 12, and Slovenia rises from 21 to 14.

 

“The inequality-adjusted Human Development Index helps us assess better the levels of development for all segments of society, rather than for just the mythical ‘average’ person,” said Milorad Kovacevic, chief statistician for the Human Development Report that accompanies the index.

 

“We consider health and education distribution to be just as important in this equation as income, and the data show great inequities in many countries.”

 

The report, Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All, notes income distribution has worsened in most of the world and reveals Latin America has the largest income inequality, although it is more equitable than sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia in life expectancy and schooling.

 

The report also shows that countries at the bottom of the list still suffer from inadequate incomes, limited schooling opportunities and low expectancy rates due to preventable diseases such as malaria and AIDS.

 

The report stresses that a lot of the problems encountered by countries with low rankings are worsened by armed conflicts and its devastating consequences. In the DRC, the country with the lowest ranking, more than three million people died from warfare and conflict related illnesses.

 

Seven countries – the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the Marshall Islands, Monaco, Nauru, San Marino, Somalia and Tuvalu – were not included this year because of a lack of data.

 

UNDP today also released its related Gender Inequality Index, which puts various European countries at the forefront of gender equality. Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark and Switzerland head the rankings, followed by Finland, Norway and Germany.

 

That index takes into account indicators on reproductive health, schooling years, government representation and participation in the labour market. Yemen ranks as the least equitable, followed by Chad, Niger, Mali, the DRC and Afghanistan. In the case of Yemen, just 7.6 per cent of women have secondary education, 0.7 per cent of legislature seats are occupied by women and only 20 per cent of working-age women have paid jobs.

 

In addition, the report highlights regional differences which cause gender disparities. In sub-Saharan Africa, gender gaps arise in education and are worsened by high maternal mortality and adolescent fertility rates. In contrast, in South Asia, gender inequality is mainly due to women lagging behind men in parliamentary representation and labour force participation.

 

Source:

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=40290&Cr=human+development&Cr1=

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

July 8, 2010

The jobs market continues to grow at a blockbuster pace and keeps the Reserve Bank on course to resume raising interest rates once it is satisfied Europe’s troubles have subsided.

New labour force data released on Thursday – showing another 45,900 people had found work last month – coincided with a warning from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that downside risks to world economic growth have intensified.

In its World Economic Outlook Update released in Hong Kong on Thursday, the IMF has upgraded its world growth forecast for 2010 because of “stronger activity during the first half of the year”.

“(But) downside risks have risen sharply amid renewed financial turbulence,” it said.

The 45,900 seasonally adjusted jump in Australian employment in June was three times larger than predicted by economists, and included a further 18,400 people finding full-time work.

The jobless rate was 5.1 per cent in June, unchanged from May after revisions, and having been originally reported as 5.2 per cent.

The rate is the lowest level since January 2009, Australian Bureau of Statistics data show.

“Australia’s strong labour force figures stand in stark contrast to the stubbornly high unemployment rates still being experienced in many other advanced economies, where the aftershocks from the crisis are continuing to reverberate,” Employment Minister Simon Crean said in a statement.

The strength of the report saw financial markets price out any chance of an interest rate cut this year, a move that had been toyed with given the uncertainty generated by Europe’s debt problems.

RBS Australia senior economist Felicity Emmett said the Reserve Bank may “sit on its hands” if global financial markets continue to sharply deteriorate, but she thought a rate cut was unlikely unless the world economy slipped back into recession.

“The ongoing strength in the labour market confirms our view that the RBA still has a tightening bias, given that falling unemployment is likely to put pressure on wages with the potential to add to inflationary pressures next year,” Ms Emmett said.

The IMF has maintained its previous growth forecasts for Australia due to “still-robust commodity prices boosting private domestic demand”.

It predicts growth of 3.0 per cent in 2010, accelerating to 3.5 per cent in 2011, as it did in April.

It has revised up its growth forecast for world growth to 4.6 per cent in 2010 from 4.2 per cent previously, while leaving its 2011 forecast at 4.3 per cent.

“The new forecasts hinge on implementation of polices to rebuild confidence and stability, particularly in the euro area,” it said.

Treasurer Wayne Swan said the IMF report showed Australia remains a “world leader” in the global recovery.

“Together with today’s strong employment figures, the IMF’s report shows the Australian economy is still well ahead of the curve,” he said.

Mr Swan said the Australian economy was well placed to benefit from its proximity and links to the world’s fastest growing region – Asia.

The IMF said Asia had only limited direct financial linkages to the most vulnerable euro area economies.

“But a stall in the European recovery that spilled over to global growth would affect Asia through both trade and financial channels.”

In IMF’s accompanying update of it Global Financial Stability Report it said while the most acute market strains seen in late April and early May had “receded somewhat”, “market confidence remained fragile”.

Source: COLIN BRINSDEN, ECONOMICS CORRESPONDENT July 8, 2010 – AAP