Australian associations release action plan  

May 14, 2013

Australia's international education peak bodies have outlined an action plan for the international education industry in a joint communique addressed to the Australian government and all political parties and candidates ahead of the 2013 Federal Election.

The joint statement called on the government to announce acceptance of the recommendations of the Chaney Report , presented to the government in February and to begin implementation of the recommendations in collaboration with the education sector.

The urgent establishment of a high-level Ministerial Coordinating Council on International Education (MCCIE), as proposed in the Chaney Report, was urged by the peak bodies. The statement said the MCCIE should also include a business leader of the standing of Michael Chaney AO, a State Premier, preferably from a state where international education ranks among the top exports, and leading experts from each of the education export sectors.

The peak bodies said the first priority of the MCCIE should be to establish appropriately representative expert working groups/advisory boards to inform its work, while the second priority should be to begin the development of a five-year national strategy for international education and research, and ensure the necessary resources and capabilities are allocated to the strategy's development and implementation.

The joint statement also stressed the need for cooperation between government, industry and key stakeholders. "We are strongly of the view that it would be unwise and inappropriate for government and its agencies to attempt to formulate a strategy in isolation from the views and interests of key stakeholders and to fail to take advantage of their substantial knowledge and expertise."

The benefits of Australia's education exports were outlined in the statement, which warned that challenges to the industry were less well understood and were consequently not being acted upon. Ahead of the 2013 Federal Elections, expected in September, it called for political unity and long-term thinking.

Lack of vision, strategy drift, policy turbulence and uncertainty, regulatory confusion and the fundamental failure to adopt a long-term planned approach to the international education industry undermines confidence and constrains business innovation. Emphatically, there is an urgency to resolve all this if the international education industry is to achieve what it could and should for the Australian community.

The joint statement was issued by: Australian Council for Private Education and Training (Acpet); Council of Private Higher Education (COPHE); English Australia; Independent Schools Council of Australia; International Education Association of Australia; Tafe Directors Australia; and Universities Australia.

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