An international education contributes to the development of global citizens, regional leaders and strong global relationships that are so critical for facilitating diplomacy, business and trade. This is the case whether it is overseas students studying in Australia or Australian students completing at least part of their degree overseas. There is great potential to further expand the international reach of the Australian university sector. With global demand for higher education set to grow significantly in coming decades, even maintaining or marginally increasing Australia’s market share could deliver major export growth.
Australian universities need to develop a more global curriculum. They need to improve the support offered to international students in both English language skills and campus safety. Universities should aim to increase the number of Australian students who study overseas for part of their course, making Australian graduates and universities more global in orientation. Capturing this opportunity requires continued effort from universities and facilitative policy from government. International higher education is at a critical juncture and competition is increasing rapidly. A whole-of-government approach is needed to ensure that all policies — migration, housing, workforce, transport and education — facilitate the growth of this vital sector.