Universities Australia today released a commissioned study by Strategic Policy and Research in Education (SPRE) Ltd, an Australian-owned company with headquarters in Hong Kong, as a contribution to the public debate on international education and its wide benefits.
The SPRE report, The Nature of International Education in Australian Universities and its Benefits, documents important non-economic benefits of international education - to the Australian higher education system, its students and graduates, and to the wider Australian community.
"Through their international activities and connections, universities make significant and diverse contributions to enhancing the quality of life in Australia and around the world", Universities Australia Chair Professor Peter Coaldrake said today.
"The benefits of international education go far beyond the immediate economic contributions made by students who come to Australian universities to undertake their studies.
"The report shows how international education enriches and changes Australian education and deepens relationships between nations. These social and cultural benefits are clearly of paramount importance in a world where international relations are undergoing rapid changes, and where Australia's future depends critically on its ability to establish diverse and productive international connections.
"Those who teach and work with international students, and those who collaborate with international teaching and research colleagues both in Australia and overseas, know the full extent of the international education success story.
"We must identify and promote the many non-economic benefits of international education to Australia as a nation, to the individuals who benefit from it and to the regions around the globe from which they come.
"At its heart, international education is about lasting connections between and among people: In Australia this explicit connection between education and the extension of international understanding is occasionally asserted but has not been systematically examined", Professor Coaldrake said.
The report's original research on the positive impact of international education on Australia's public diplomacy substantiates this connection for Australia.
The report also identifies university initiatives, projects and international alumni to demonstrate these people-to-people benefits - for individuals and nations.
"It is timely to reinforce our strong commitment to richer and wider international education for all the benefits it brings to our students and to Australia, and to work tirelessly to ensure that those benefits are delivered as they should", Professor Coaldrake said.
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