10.12.2020A coordinated focus on the importance of International Education
International education and the students who participate, uniquely contribute to the vibrancy of Melbourne and Victoria, our global reputation, our skilled workforce and economic fabric.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges for our world-renowned international education sector, and especially the international students living in our community and those who were unable to travel due to border closures.
The Committee’s Road to Recovery Taskforce identified this as a significant COVID-19 issue that requires a ‘whole of community’ collaboration and support from Government at local, state and federal level.
Our university members, councils and the visitor economy members and the state Government came together to collaborate on how we can collectively raise awareness of the community and economic value of international education in Victoria and Australia.
Following the International Education: Disruption & Renewal forum hosted by the Committee for Melbourne in July this year, the inaugural International Student Advocacy Network (ISAN) was convened on 2 December, chaired by Professor Michael Wesley, Deputy Vice Chancellor, International at the University of Melbourne. The network includes representatives from diverse sectors including our member Universities, education organisations, tiers of government, business and industry and other relevant organisations.
There was a commitment to work across sectors to coordinate advocacy that will contribute to our Road to Recovery, as well as to strengthening international education and the student experience in Victoria and Australia. It was agreed we would focus on:
- promoting the value and benefit of international education and working to change attitudes and perceptions towards international students
- engaging employers, start up, entrepreneurial and work opportunities for international students
- launching the first international student festival in June 2021, an initiative of the Committee for Melbourne Future Focus Group which will celebrate the cultural value of our international students
The ISAN meeting heard from Universities and Victorian government representative about major initiatives to support Victoria’s international education sector. The recent state budget allocation of $33.4 million package to support policies and programs for the state’s international education sector was detailed at the meeting. Government representatives outlined how this funding package seeks to re-establish Victoria’s position as Australia’s top destination for international students, and that collaboration across communities and educational institutions is crucial. We look forward to working with Government to urgently address the challenges we face in Greater Melbourne.
ISAN will continue to address collaboration, communication and sharing of information across sectors which has been lacking to date and is a critical role and function. A series of member/stakeholder forums and workshops will be held over the coming months. To register your interest please contact the Engagement Team.