The development of Australia’s first National Strategy for International Education 2025 highlights the importance of international education to Australia. Recognised as one of the five super growth sectors contributing to Australia’s transition from a resources-based to a modern services economy, international education offers an unprecedented opportunity for Australia to capitalise on increasing global demand for education services.

The intent of the strategy is to ensure Australia remains a leader in the provision of education services to overseas students. Australia already has a well-deserved reputation for the quality of our education and research, however, to fully realise our potential we must be both strategic and ambitious.

To achieve this, we must build on our existing education, training and research strengths, to deliver high quality, innovative products and services to students that meet or exceed their expectations. This will enable us to withstand increasing competition and sustainably grow our market share, whilst maintaining the quality for which we are renowned. 

The strategy particularly recognises the importance of innovation in achieving our goals, aligning our efforts with the Australian Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda. Although traditional forms of education will remain in high demand there are new and emerging forms of education where there are significant opportunities for both students and providers. These include blended delivery models, online professional development, and offshore and edu-tourism opportunities.

Collaboration and partnerships are also a key focus of this strategy. They can afford tremendous opportunity for expansion into markets that otherwise might be prohibitive, enabling smaller providers to achieve scale and broaden their education offerings. There is also a role they can play in promoting a continuum of education, encouraging students to progress through the Australian education system, transitioning from school to higher education or vocational qualifications or between providers.

This strategy, together with the long-term market development roadmap, Australian International Education 2025, signals the sector's and the government's commitment to work together to advance international education by identifying new products and new opportunities for expansion, and building on our current presence in existing markets.

In order to achieve this, it is critical that we embrace the role as a driver of change. We must be conscious of what our competitors are doing, particularly what they are doing better than us. It is vital we are honest about our shortcomings and proactive in addressing concerns when they arise. We must also remain cognisant of the needs and expectations of

Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck, Minister for Tourism and International Education sitting in a classroom with primary school students in China.Minister Colbeck visiting Jingshan School, Beijing, April 2016.

industry, tailoring our education product to meet changing requirements. The majority of the strategy will be driven by the education sector; however, there is a clear role for government in facilitating growth of Australian international education. Government must ensure that where there are interacting policy levers, such as with student visas and settings in trade agreements, our policies are mutually compatible and internationally competitive. 

The strategy is the result of lengthy consultation with the sector, with the ideas and vision of education stakeholders brought together by the Coordinating Council for International Education. Their willingness to work together in developing this strategy is a testament to their commitment to the growth and development of Australian international education. 

The Australian Government thanks the following sector expert members of the Coordinating Council for International Education for their leadership in developing this strategy:

  • Ms Sue Blundell, former Executive Director, English Australia
  • Ms Kate Carnell AO, former Chief Executive Officer, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • The Hon Phil Honeywood, National Director, International Education Association of Australia
  • Ms Belinda Robinson, Chief Executive Officer, Universities Australia
  • Mr Bill Spurr AO, Chair, Education Adelaide 
  • Mr Malcolm White, former Acting Chief Executive Officer, TAFE Directors Australia.

To support the strategy’s implementation, the government has announced the creation of an ongoing council. The council participants will represent a broad cross-section of Australian education stakeholders, and will have responsibility for the development of the implementation plan, to realise the ambitions outlined in this strategy.

As the first Minister for International Education I am proud to present Australia’s first international education strategy. It is a vital step in developing this essential sector and will drive continued excellence and growth over the coming years.

Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck
Minister for Tourism and International Education