Overseas Students Value Our Degrees

Overseas students value our degrees

Andrew Trounson and Guy Healy
From: The Australian
October 06, 2010 12:00AM

INTERNATIONAL students still have a high regard for Australian qualifications despite assaults, dodgy colleges and an immigration crackdown.

A survey commissioned by international education agent IDP has found almost 40 per cent of the 2000 students surveyed said they believed an Australian qualification would allow them to compete easily against graduates from the US and Britain. However, close to 20 per cent said it would be difficult to compete.

About 13 per cent rated immigration among their top two preferences on graduation, while almost 40 per cent planned to work in Australia. About 20 per cent listed in their top two preferences an intention to return to their own country to work.

“Students who come here for their tertiary education make ideal migrants and we should be encouraging them to spend some time working here after they graduate,” IDP chief executive Tony Pollock said.

Meanwhile, a peak international education professional association is concerned a key plank of the government's international student strategy – a program to counter “socially divisive trends” – is no longer a priority.

On the eve of the country's largest international education conference in Sydney next week, International Education Association of Australia executive director Dennis Murray said it was well past time for the state and federal governments to say how the strategy would be implemented and who would be responsible for it.

“Consultations with the sector took place almost a year ago and details are still not announced,” Mr Murray said.

It is believed part of the delay may be due to wrangling among governments over how to fund the strategy.

“This is a sorely needed investment in social cohesion, particularly given the socially divisive trends that emerged during the recent election campaign,” Mr Murray said.

A survey in March found almost half the participants believed international students took away university places from domestic students, while a separate survey found close to half the respondents rated international education as not very important.

A federal Education Department spokesman said there would be a statement on the strategy “in due course”.

Universities Australia wants a “visionary and strategic” prime ministerial statement on international education to coincide with next year's 25th anniversary of international education in Australia.

The IPD research will be released at next week's Australian International Education Conference in Sydney.


Related Coverage :

Student numbers under pressure Adelaide Now, 6 Jul 2010

Britain and US preferred by China students The Australian, 29 Jun 2010

Steep slump in English spooks sector The Australian, 1 Jun 2010

Overseas student numbers plummet The Australian, 27 May 2010

Aussie courses for Indians take big hit Adelaide Now, 30 Mar 2010