Australian International Education Strategy Submission Parts 1 and 2
If one scans the whole international education ’empirical field’ to inform an Australian international education strategy, inputs and desired outcomes are limited to selected aspirations or objectives, and preferred or conventional channels for ‘activity’, with some glaring omissions and contradictory objectives.
This submission is an effort to both highlight and stress some of these others elements including more focus upon students onshore or on campus, quality according to students and stakeholders, not managers or commissioners.
1. Please outline your (or your organisation’s) interest in Australian international education:
Managing AIEC the Australian International Education Centre Budapest, Hungary, conducting market development throughout Europe, Turkey and elsewhere using mostly inbound SEO digital techniques (no events), i.e. creating visibility all year with limited resources.
In addition to completing a Master of Education (Victoria University) with research thesis from 2001 titled ‘International Education: The Experience of Students and Stakeholders’ focusing upon students and related stakeholders (Western and Central Eastern Europe, Turkey and Australia), education quality, access to information, effective marketing and diversity, using grounded qualitative research techniques to elicit feedback. There was and still is a dearth of research and data on the experience of students and Australia’s international profile at micro level.
The research found a strong need for Australia to market itself further to increase awareness and diversity, closer liaison with existing students and stakeholders through regular feedback, access to up to date information using internet or web sites, assuring quality according to students, focusing upon providing employment and internships, in addition to more clarity on visas and immigration…. little has changed in over fifteen years?
Little has changed except that ALL students are online and sharing information via word of mouth or social media, more quickly and directly, which in turn impacts the search visibility of any destination and institution.
2. Does the vision statement in the draft strategy represent Australia’s aspirations for international education?
The statement is an admirable attempt to articulate desired outcomes or objectives which are similar to ten or twenty years ago, albeit from a limited empirical field, precluding outside input.
More important are strategy and tactics i.e. how will these sometimes conflicting statements be achieved with existing conventional/preferred methods, short term outlook, focus upon travel approval, digital economy with consequent ‘disruption’, funding, sub-optimal human resources, increasing international competition, and much antipathy in Australia towards international students?
One needs to include history and context of Australian international education to understand the current situation, and directions for the future. Unfortunately many inside the sector may not be able to see the ‘forest for the trees’ and further, many do not know the history since Australia started promoting ‘full fee’ study to international students, after the successful Colombo Plan.
Student Focus and Market Intelligence:
Several questions need to be asked of ALL enrolled on campus students, as they are the fulcrum for feedback on quality, which in turn relates to marketing:
- How did you learn about our country, city, institution, course etc. and which communication channels were used to inform your decision during this time researching study abroad options?
- How has your study, social and employment experience been?
- Would you recommend your school, course or destination to other students?
- How would you suggest reaching these students?
This is supported by ICEF European based organiser of international education events, in addition to market intelligence on students and digital marketing:
‘Enhancing the student experience with essential student services. This article touches upon some of the more common concerns affecting international students, no matter where they are studying, and offers some tips and ideas on how your education institution can respond and support them. Robust student services can mean an enhanced student experience, which in turn can result in greater interest in your school or university.‘
For more information about international education marketing services click through.