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Australian International Education Exports Marketing Analysis

Exporting education – how Australia did it. HERE’s something Australian education exporters do not need as they struggle against the impact of the expensive $A and everybody from the UK to US, China to Canada realising how much money is to be made in selling to international students – their industry association has published an explanation on how they do it.

Yes for A$60 anybody interested can read how Australian schools and universities built a $16 bn per annum industry from scratch in a bare three decades by buying a copy of Dorothy Davis and Bruce Mackintosh, “Making a Difference: Australian International Education”.

Without being privy to details in the book, the Minister Chris Evans did acknowledge the Colombo Plan at the November book launch which could have been perceived as the market development phase for Australian education in Asia.

As one Go8 International Manager opined in mid 90s, “we are happy just getting candidates from Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore etc.”, this changed very quickly……

This changed very quickly when Chinese were granted more freedoms and acquired more economic mobility, then Melbourne especially, was gifted brilliant free marketing, a Bollywood film “Salaam Namaste”.

Further, according to various industry insiders, while Australia has an excellent legislative and regulatory framework for international education and quality, something was missing at the coalface when past few years quality, welfare and other issues surfaced via the media.

Others also stated that Australia’s marketing has been less than optimum when significant elements have neither been acknowledged nor analysed e.g. ongoing “word of mouth” of students, alumni and other stakeholders, private sector institutions (and feeders), and as we have learnt recently, the impact of “Permanent Residency or Immigration carrots”, especially when removed…..

Some of the positives in addition to export earnings have been or should be the internationalisation of Australia and long term relationships, the integrated pathways and RPL via the AQF and the benefits that wash through the wider economy such as tourism, accommodation providers and hospitality industry.

The industry is already more challenged, not helped when politicians are terrified by proxy opinion polls i.e. net overseas population data and negative conflation of international education with immigration by the media.

Industry is in transition with more international choices, in country education, high AUD, new student visa directives precluding any candidate with an intention of PR from being granted a visa, digital and social media based marketing and communications challenging 1980s style “fly in fly out” “marketing materials” distribution, accordingly size does not matter, but quality does.

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