09.07.2020From the CEO – Education Edition

Melbourne is Australia’s knowledge capital and the knowledge economy is fundamental to our wellbeing and prosperity. The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially damaging to this vital sector, with an impact on our economy and community which is deeper and wider than we may think.

The Committee is committed to supporting the education sector through this crisis, not only by drawing attention to it challenges but also to celebrate the great ingenuity and adaptability the sector has shown in turning a crisis into an opportunity.

That is why the Committee is dedicating this special edition of Communique to education.  We would like our readers to understand how important the sector is to our economy and community and to understand the very real damage the COVID-19 pandemic has caused, but also to draw inspiration and hope from the resourcefulness and resilience of our educational institutions.

In this education edition you will read that while the sector has been damaged by COVID-19, it is also playing a seminal role in helping our community recover from COVID-19’s health and economic consequences.

The Committee for Melbourne is proud to have 7 of Melbourne’s leading universities as Foundation members, as well as some leading secondary educational institutions.  We thank the Universities of La Trobe, Monash, RMIT, Swinburne, Melbourne and Victoria as well as the Global Business College of Australia (GBCA) and Haileybury for their contributions to today’s edition.

We asked our contributors three questions:

  • What contribution is your organisation bringing to the economy and society during this COVID-19 pandemic?
  • What areas can government and private sector do to assist you in your contributions post COVID-19?
  • What do you feel the future holds for Melbourne and your organisation on our Road to Recovery?

The Committee is also building on its own work published in 2015 in collaboration with our university members on Melbourne as a world leading international student city.  This report linked Melbourne’s attractiveness as a destination for international students to our ability to nurture that community and provide a sense of welcome.

Our business and civic leadership program, the Future Focus Group (FFG), is currently running a project on how we can connect International Students with the Melbourne community, which you can also read about in this edition.

Finally, two weeks from today, on 23 July, the Committee, in partnership with La Trobe University, is hosting an E-Room Forum on disruption and renewal in international education with university leaders.

Until COVID-19 struck, international education was Victoria’s single largest services export earner and Melbourne a world-leading international student destination. Ranked third in the 2019 QS Student Cities Index, the city’s high-quality education, research and training sector was a magnet for students and researchers around the world.

In 2018-19, $12.6 billion in export revenue was generated for Victoria and the sector directly supported almost 79,000 local jobs. Indirect economic benefits that flowed to other sectors were enormous. International education offered Victoria more than dollars and jobs; foreign students enriched the state culturally and provided it with deep and long-lasting global ties.

Victoria and Australia’s international education sector and sectors supported by it, have been left reeling by the disruption brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. How these sectors, the state, and country, respond will be of monumental importance to all of us.

Please join me as I discuss with senior leaders from the universities of La Trobe, Victoria and Melbourne the state of international education in Victoria, and the efforts required to ensure Melbourne remains a globally significant student city.

Melbourne’s Road to Recovery is intimately linked to the recovery of our education sector and the revival of our international student market.

We all have a part to play.  I hope that this edition and our 23 July forum will inspire you to make a contribution.

Happy Reading


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