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There has still been no major research into the long-term economic contributions made to Australia by Chinese students.
The economic potential of Australia’s large network of Chinese alumni has been overlooked, despite evidence of ongoing returns, years after they graduate from our universities, new research suggests.
Victoria University researcher Jo Pyke, who led the Chinese alumni survey, said although we are beginning to experience the short-term benefits of international education for tourism, any long-term contribution from international alumni has not been considered.
Pyke says Australia is lagging behind other countries, and that US universities have up to 500 staff working in the alumni area.
“The same level of investment hasn’t been made by Australian universities who are only really just starting to see the value of strong alumni networks,” Pyke said.
In China alone, it’s estimated that there are 150,000-plus alumni that Australian universities have yet to reconnect with.
The research identified several barriers to travel including cost, inconvenience of flights and difficulties in obtaining a visa, especially for family and friends.
The report recommends policies designed to treat alumni as having “special status”, such as providing them with easier, longer-term, multi-entry visas, may be an important investment in longer-term engagement.
Pyke said we should be targeting the best and brightest with migration paths to become permanent residents and citizens, and that the government should ensure better coordination between tourism and education sectors through a cross-sectional committee or taskforce approach.
The survey revealed that 64% of alumni returned to Australia in the past five years. A further 93 per cent of alumni surveyed said they intend to travel to Australia at least once in the next five years.
The hunt for funds
Universities need to speed up the search for alternative sources of finance. By Louis White.
The Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education’s 2011 finance report revealed that revenue for Australian universities totalled $23.658 billion, of which $13.3 billion (56% ) came from the Commonwealth (including research funds).
A further $5.45 billion (23%) derived from fees and charges, three-quarters of which was from overseas students. Investment income was the next largest category, accounting for 3.6% in 2011, while the remaining 17% came from a wide range of sources each with their own characteristic features in terms of fundraising.
The pressure to raise external funds is increasing with the likelihood that federal government funding, no matter which political party wins in September, will either stagnate or face heavy cuts.
All universities across Australia are now focusing heavily on external fundraising and restructuring administration to better coordinate efforts and to make it a priority.
Onwards and upwards for TEQSA
The agency aims for a flexible approach to allow providers to adapt and thrive in response to changes in the higher education market. By Carol Nicoll.
Qualifications lack credibility
The length of study required for qualifications varies hugely – and AQF guidelines are being ignored. By Felicity Dunn.
Macro view is needed in analysis
Policymakers need to consider how much value TAFEs add to industry. according to VET specialist John Mitchell.
Five case studies of TAFE institutes prepared by Mitchell for TAFE Directors Australia show how effectively TAFEs are in working with industry clients.
Each of the resulting five case studies shows how TAFE training meets one or more of these business and government goals ‒ increased productivity including global competitiveness, flexible workforces, highly qualified staff building careers, skills for the new economy and regional growth.