Publisher’s Letter: The Yin and Yang of our education industry
The recently released Knight Review, relating to Australia’s international education industry, will no doubt create many new discussions, and hopefully somewhere along the way, even provide some beneficial answers, which may be followed by positive results.
We know that education as an export industry is certainly experiencing a serious down turn, and yet, as an industry with such a breadth of education facilities and large variety of products, there remain some serious concerns.
There are far more Australian education institutions today, now competing with each other for Chinese students to study in Australia.
Just about every Australian university, TAFE, large number of grammar and high schools, as well as many private schools are promoting their services in China.
This comes at a time, when our Australian dollar is very high, there is extensive competition from many other western countries and our government is perceived to be very conservative in respect to the issuing of visas.
Certainly not an easy fix.
But it is not all negative.
Recently, I was invited by the Austway Group – a Chinese education agency based in Melbourne, and a customer of our publication – to visit a number of middle schools and foreign language schools in China, to witness their interest in the Australian education system.
The Austway Group are actively involved in promoting the Victorian Curriculum Education program in China and have assisted in establishing partnerships between suitable Chinese schools and interested Victorian schools.
This is supported by the Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority.
The visit took me to schools in Nanjing, Changshu, Xuzhou, Wuhu, Shijiazhuang and Changsha. Firstly I can report that many of the schools are very new and modern, including the latest in laboratories, libraries, theatres and sporting facilities.
And even more important and surprising was the genuine and keen interest by the principals and senior teaching staff to introduce to their students the opportunity to teach the VCE program in China to their senior students. There was an understanding that students undertaking the VCE program would do that in parallel to their own Chinese examination system, and that did not create any concern.
The fact that Chinese students are given the opportunity to achieve an Australian university entry in their own school, and the participating schools benefit by learning to teach via their own teachers, an Australian education system is presenting a new and quite exciting option – for Chinese and Australian schools alike.
This is just another example of how Australian education providers are thinking outside the box with their engagement with China – and a new way to foster Chinese relationships to directly benefit our struggling international education industry.
Meanwhile, we find ourselves celebrating for the third year in a row, the fantastic Australia China Alumni Awards, which showcase the exceptional career paths of Australian and Chinese graduates of Australian universities living and working in China. This is in addition to the annual Australia China Business Awards, recently held in Hong Kong.
Please enjoy this special education and awards issue.
Publisher, Australia China Connections ■