The International Education Short-Term Recovery Plan 2020/21 was announced by the Victorian government and includes a list of measures that will be taken to stimulate the sector. 

“The international education sector is a cornerstone of Victoria’s economic recovery”

As well as opening the state to international students, measures include the creation of a new scholarship program and growth hubs in key strategic markets. 

“The international education sector is a cornerstone of Victoria’s economic recovery,” said minister for Trade, Martin Pakula

“Timely and strategic support for the sector is vital because the positive effects will amplify Victoria’s broader economic recovery.”

International education was the state’s single largest export sector in 2019, worth $13.7 billion and supporting around 79,000 Victorian jobs, Pakula continued.

“At that time more than 250,000 international students were travelling here to study – today, due to the coronavirus pandemic, there are fewer than 120,000 students on our shores, with significant impacts being felt across the sector and the economy,” he added. 

Modelling by the National Institute of Economic and Industry Research indicates Victorian international education export revenue will decrease by around $5.8 billion in 2020, the recovery plan noted.

“International students in Victoria have also been significantly impacted by the pandemic, with many experiencing financial hardship, accommodation insecurity and social isolation,” the plan said. 

The initiatives outlined in the plan will “reset and stimulate” the sector and position Victoria for recovery.

The Victorian Government will work closely with the federal government to restart international student arrivals in early 2021. 

Via the new scholarship program the Victorian Government will roll out, it hopes to drive demand and create a pathway to Victoria by providing grants to TAFEs and universities for students undertaking English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students or foundation studies. 

“With this announcement, Victoria has again strongly signalled the importance of international students to our community,” said Margaret Gardner, president and vice-chancellor of Monash University

“This investment will go a long way to highlighting to the world the quality of tertiary education in Victoria and all that our state, and city, has to offer to international students,” she added. 

“A network of Study Melbourne hubs is a great way of ensuring current international students remain connected to their institution”

Additionally, a marketing campaign targeting international students will position Victoria as one of the “world’s safest study destinations”.

The state will also create an edutourism program that will encourage students to develop leadership skills and become ambassadors for the benefits of visiting regional Victoria, as well as an entrepreneurship program. 

It will also promote itself as a global hub for edtech and innovation and create hubs in “strategic international markets”, alongside the Victorian Government’s Trade and Investment Network

“A network of Study Melbourne hubs is a great way of ensuring current international students remain connected to their institution, whilst paving a way for future students to see the quality of an Australian education from Victoria using the best of online learning and physical environment,” said David Linke, managing director of Edugrowth

The government is also investing in an international research fund and expanding its Global Education Network into Vietnam, Brazil and Kenya. 

“Victoria has built a globally competitive innovation ecosystem, catalysed by longstanding investment in science and research capability,” said Amanda Caples, lead scientist, Victorian Government. 

“This capability provides local and international students with the tools and technologies they need to launch successful careers and enable strong and meaningful connections between Victoria and the world.”

Ministers have also discussed strategies to demonstrate that Australian is “open for business” at the Council for International Education meetings.

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