International students: not just a revenue supply
CAPA President, John Byron, expressed his support for the recommendations of the AV-CC's Discussion Paper on International Education, released this week.
"It is important that Australia does not become complacent about its increasing popularity as an education destination for international students", Mr Byron said.
"The AV-CC's recommendations on international education will help to ensure that international students choose Australia, despite vigorous competition from the UK and the USA, among others."
"CAPA particularly supports the reduction of Government imposed barriers for international students, in the form of student visa fees, the Work Rights visa fee and the Student Information Service Fee".
Considerable anecdotal evidence from international postgraduate students has demonstrated that these fees, which are more than double those of some of Australia's competitors for international students, can be a deterrent for students when choosing their education destination.
"These fees do not reflect actual administration costs and largely serve as a revenue raising mechanism for the Government", said Mr Byron.
CAPA also supports the concept of an international education round-table. However, in order to achieve a truly national perspective on international education, a potential round-table would benefit from educational sector representation in addition to the federal and state government representation advocated by the AV-CC.
"CAPA would enthusiastically welcome the opportunity to participate in such a forum," said Mr Byron.
Australia's future popularity as an education destination also requires a strong demonstration, from both education institutions and the Government, that international students in Australia are valued for more than the income that they generate.
"The education process is about engaging with people as individuals, not just as a revenue supply. If international students are not treated well in Australia, Australia's reputation among potential future students can only suffer", warned Mr Byron.
"International students in Australia contribute immeasurably to the Australian education sector. Not only do they broaden the educational experience of Australian students, but they also enable Australians to form valuable international networks among future participants in the global corporate, community, political and education sectors".