25 October 2013
During the course of a “super trade mission” to China ,Victorian premier Denis Napthine has announced Victoria’s latest international education strategy, at a cost of $17.5 million over the four years.
International education is easily Victoria’s biggest export industry, bringing in about $4.4 billion a year.
The strategy includes the establishment of a Victorian international education advisory body, the annual provision of 150 internship placements as part of the Study Melbourne Internship Program a new transnational education fund to help Victorian providers develop offshore training and skills programs and a trial public transport concession scheme for international students.
The internship scheme and state international education awards have already been announced separately.
The issue of public travel concessions has long been a sticking point with international students in Victoria.
States and territories apart from NSW and Victoria give international students access to the full range of concessions available to their domestic counterparts.
Last year, the NSW government announced a limited form of travel concessions which only apply to three and twelve-month tickets for travel in the greater Sydney region.
Victoria appears to have adopted a similar scheme, in restricting its proposed discount to long-term tickets. The Victorian concessions will include regional areas covered by the Myki smartcard system, but will only apply to annual tickets.
This would restrict their appeal to many students, particularly those taking relatively short English language or vocational courses.
The scheme will be piloted for three years, starting in 2015. The extension of full travel concessions has been estimated to cost up to $30 million a year.
Universities and colleges will have to meet some of the costs and, as in NSW, they will have to buy the travel passes in bulk and on-sell them to students.
The travel concession scheme will be piloted for three years, starting in 2015.
Other key initiatives of the strategy include:
- The appointment of new Education Services Managers in Latin America, Indonesia and two additional cities in China.
- A new transnational education (TNE) fund for Victorian providers to support VET and skills development offshore.
- Relocating the International Student Care Service (currently based in Carlton) to the CBD, augmenting its services and rebadging it as the ‘Study Melbourne Student Centre’.
- Expanding the International Student Doctoral Scholarship scheme as well as the Hamer Scholarships Program, which promote Asian language literacy for public and private sector applicants.