Universities Australia welcomes the International Student Strategy agreed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) today.
Complementing the COAG meeting, Universities Australia has today published a new position paper, Enhancing the Student Experience & Student Safety, documenting good practice in this area across the university sector, government agencies and internationally.
The paper follows a number of actions by Universities Australia to address recent concerns in relation to student safety, including the release of a ten point action plan developed from recommendations by Deputy and Pro Vice-Chancellors (International) at Australian universities, and discussions with Ambassadors and High Commissioners in Australia.
"This position paper further demonstrates the sector's commitment to ensuring a rewarding and safe learning environment, both on-campus and in the wider community through dialogue with governments, student groups, employers and law enforcement agencies," Universities Australia Chief Executive Dr Glenn Withers said today.
The paper looks directly at the issue of student safety as a first and foundation component of the student experience. The intention is to document the good practice available across Australia's universities as a basis for sharing experience so as to enhance outcomes.
At the same time the intention is also to put this objective in the context of practice internationally, as another source of learning, and in the context of the roles and responsibilities of other stakeholders, so that the benefits of informed partnership can be achieved, particularly in moving beyond immediate campus life obligations.
"Safety initiatives are for the benefit of all staff and students, not just the international student cohort," Dr Withers said.
"In recent years universities have been working to enhance the student experience not only in safety and welfare, but through work-integrated learning programs, advisory and counselling services, volunteering opportunities, and more comprehensive course experience evaluations. Universities will continue this work in order to achieve the Bradley Review's vision for an expanded international education sector.
Universities Australia looks forward to partnering with Commonwealth and State Governments in further resolving transport, accommodation and other key safety issues," Dr Withers said.
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