QUT Agent Workshop
Monday 10 September 2018
Ladies and Gentlemen.
It is my great pleasure to be here today at QUT’s first-ever agent workshop in southwest China.
As Australia’s Consul-General to the region, I am proud to promote Australia as a place to study. Our track record speaks for itself. Globally, Australia has consistently been one of the leading destinations for international education. In 2017, our international student enrolments hit a new high of 624,000, 13 per cent more than the year before.
As you know, China is our biggest source country, providing 30% of all international students. This translates to 185,000 Chinese students currently studying in Australia.
So why is Australia so popular both in China and globally as a place to study?
First, our world-standard education. Australia has seven universities ranked in the top 100 globally, making it a leader in research and innovation. Our institutions were responsible for technological breakthroughs such as wifi, the black box flight recorder, the ultrasound scanner and the bionic ear.
The quality of our education is consistently high across the country, owing to world-class standards and regulatory control. This applies to schools, VET and universities.
Second, our flexible curricula. With both single and double degree and diploma offerings; professional degrees at undergraduate and postgraduate levels; and a range of research degree options, Australian institutions offer curricula that deliver both technical and interdisciplinary breadth.
Third, the relevance of Australian expertise to China. Australia excels in areas of education that are critical to China’s future. In fields such as biotechnology, data analytics, blockchain technology, aged care, tourism and early childhood studies, we offer world-leading vocational and higher education that can provide the training and skills that China needs as it shifts towards a tech and consumption-driven, services-oriented economy.
Fourth, Australia’s safe, open and welcoming society. The safety, convenience and environmental-friendliness of Australian towns and cities make them a great place to live as well as study.
Because they have been welcoming international students for many decades, Australian institutions offer comprehensive support systems in the areas of career guidance, academic support and health services. Indeed, we are the first country to pass laws protecting international students’ rights.
Finally, our uniquely global education experience. With over half a million international students studying in Australia, our country’s classrooms are some of the most internationalised in the world.
The genuine international experience that Australia offers Chinese students gives them the opportunity to develop a cross-cultural skillset and connections that directly assists them to expand China’s internationalisation.
Australian institutions recognise the world is changing rapidly. Technological breakthroughs, especially in artificial intelligence, automation and robotics, mean the skills needed to succeed in the future will shift to higher value work. This includes an emphasis on human skills that machines cannot emulate, such as leadership, management, teamwork, negotiation and persuasion. An Australian education equips you with these.
QUT is an exemplar university when it comes to those factors I have just outlined. A university with a truly global outlook, it excels in real-world learning and high-impact research. It ranked 20th in the 2018 Times Higher Education young university rankings, and 2nd in Australia, while 100 per cent of its research output was rated at world standard or above in the latest Excellence in Research for Australia survey. More than a sixth of its nearly 50,000 students are from overseas.
As our former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull mentioned in a speech last month, the ongoing role of Australian education in the region is vital for the security and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific. International education means more than foreign students coming to study in Australia and leaving with a degree; every arrival leads to long-term relationships that ultimately benefit us all.
So in that sense, as education agents you are very much ambassadors for the people-to-people links international education fosters which will see Australia-China relations grow even stronger into the future.
It is with that thought that I wish you all the best for what promises to be an interesting and rewarding forum.