International education is Australia’s 4th largest export. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) the total export income of Australia from all international education activity is $15.6 billion in 2013. Australia is the 3rd top choice as a destination of international students, such a choice is justified by a lot of reasons.
Most Australian educational institutions also depend on revenue from full paying international students in providing quality education not only to international students but also to domestic students. Other economic benefits of international education to the nation is in terms of increased tourism and employment creation. It is also a major source of skilled migration that can take care of skill shortages and ultimately contribute to the economic prosperity of Australia for the long haul.
However, the importance of international education to Australia is not purely economic or financial. The contribution of international students to the Australian society by enriching and diversifying communities cannot be ignored, nor should its significant role in building global networks for the nation be overlooked. It functions as an enabler to the far-reaching alliances and partnership of Australia to the world.
Here are some more reasons why international students are important to Australia.
Transform Cultural Perspectives
The presence of international students in the Australian communities has been a stimulant to a more multicultural society. They helped change the attitudes of local students, and challenged long-held beliefs and ideas.
Help Build Diplomatic Relations
International students helped establish diplomatic relations with governments of other countries and initiated interaction with these countries’ leadership. They have also opened doors and developed global networks as well as forge a good image for Australia.
Sustain Australia’s Connectivity to the World
The international education sector of Australia has produced international alumni that put across Australian influence in the global world and cultivate linkages and friendships between Australia and their home country and beyond.
Provide Skilled and Qualified Workforce
The large number of international student graduates who chose to remain and work in Australia has been a rich source of skilled and qualified workers for Australia and has filled up the shortage in skilled labour in some industries. The presence of international student graduates also helps boost the confidence of investors and traders from their home country to do business in Australia.
Help in the Development of the Region
International education has helped in the development of other countries in the region through development assistance and scholarships granted to deserving students from these countries. The most palpable role of the international education sector is to educate and train research manpower for educational and government institutions.
Create a Global Outlook for Australian Education Institutions
Strong competition from overseas and from within Australia has driven most Australian education providers to upgrade and make their instruction, facilities and infrastructure world-class, develop more flexible learning pathways and develop a more global perspective. The increase in postgraduate students also strengthen the research capabilities of these institutions.