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This document covers key issues that have been influencing the witnessed growth in international education within Australia. Major factors include conducive political-legal, socio-cultural as well as technological forces. Australia has become destined choice for most students worldwide. Such condition has been facilitated by its ability in availing teaching options and a widespread range of study. Extensive ranges of programs and courses are availed within higher education universities and training centre for English language. Australia has appeared to be one of the prestigious the international students' destination. With the perceived growing trend, the country is becoming the first choice for education among international students. In essence, Australian education is the primary responsibility of the state and territories (Smith & Themes, 2000).
Australian education is compulsory up to a specified age by as per the states Legislative regulatory, the age ranges being varied from a state to another. Australian Qualifications Framework regulates the post-compulsory education, a unified system in vocational, school, university or training qualifications nationally. Academic years vary between institutions but in general it runs from late January to mid November. This is applicable for universities which hold seasonal holidays plus breaks in various educational institutes (Marioribanks & Keeves, 1999). In Australia, pre-school isn't regulated and also not compulsory. Playgroup and daycare presents the first education experience that any Australian child is exposed to. Private organizations, community groups or local councils run the pre-schools. However, in Queensland and Northern Territory, they are run by State or Territory. For age 6-15, education is compulsory, basing on the date of birth or state of origin. Two thirds of the Australian students are educated in the government schools and a third in private schools. Generally, governmental schools are free except for minor administrative costs and larger fees are paid within the private schools. However, both private as well as government institutes follow the same syllabus/curriculum, with majority of students wearing uniforms while some schools do not wear uniforms. Most private schools are religious, run by Catholics or Anglican organizations. However, there are a number of environmental factors that affect education flow within Australia such as technological, economical, legal-political, social cultural and international elements (Pacula & Hall, 2003).
3.1.1 Environmental Factors: Technological Forces
Technological applications have been in use within Australia, acting an influential tool for development of tremendous thinking skills. Use of technology in classrooms has replaced the old teaching and learning models. Teachers can now utilize multimedia technology in offering more advanced, stimulating and online lectures to various international students. Computer applications has developed and stimulated writing skills. Similarly, it has also enhanced collaboration with individuals from foreign countries, authenticating research and availing solutions to complex problems. Chris Dede, a researcher from virtual reality in Australia reckoned that, introduction of new technologies in classrooms has supported innovative teaching and learning models (Welch & Hanushek, 2006).
Technology enables students to develop positive learning experience and possibly prepare them for global challenges after completing their respective programs. Similarly, literature has been revived as a sensory experience, where technological advancements have been useful in connecting work to art, music and history, among others (Thomson & Hayden, 2001). Use of software tool kit such as onadime composer has made multisensory, multimedia, real time and interactive computer programs, useful in teaching in Australian education sector. Internet has been applied in lesson planning by training teachers from the proliferation websites. Australia primarily has used online information strategy to drive internal learning. For example, internet has been applied as a reliable resource in knowledge advancement. Australian education has been linked to embrace distant learning and online study since it appears to be a more convenient mode of education. Compared to other conventional methods, the technological mode seems to avail more reliable e-learning mode in professional study (Crawford & Barr, 2005).
Australian technological systems have been majorly applied in higher learning education where learning is done in sessions with instructors for each. Results of online education have demonstrated an appropriate framework in the university sector. Australian government has assisted in implementation various policies in information and communication technology which is aimed at realigning the education sector with globalization (Stacey & Behrman, 1997). Additionally, the policies have also been aimed at ushering in the emergence of an information society due to the world moving towards an extremely interconnected social set-up. Incorporation of online education has revealed that Australia has joined other industrialized nations within the general education system
3.1.2 Economical Factors
In Australia, education evolved to be the 3rd largest export sector in 2007-2008, besides iron, ore and coal. In relation to other sectors, international higher education sector has demonstrated a relative slow growth recently. Nevertheless, other sectors such as VET &ELICOS reported growth up-surge due to increased student's enrolments. Education and related sector sectors have revealed flat growth rate. Augmentation of skilled labour migration within Australian economy has been part of contributions of international education. The two aspects of international education contributions are value-added and employment. Value-added output involves value from a production sector, involving capital and labour. Value-added aspect excludes production taxes and deducts subsidies issued in production. Education sector within Australia has also been a contributor of Growth Domestic Product (i.e. GDP), via other services export (refer to Appendices E). Such income is generated from overseas educational operations by institutional set-ups. For example, Australia earned 438million dollars, income from education export in 2007-2008, demonstrating 23%increase compared to the previous year. Similarly, for a single set of formal students, recent Australian research has revealed that a single friend or family member visited Australia during study period. For example, in 2008, relatives and friends were estimated to be 217, 63, with 76,629 being visitors to the higher education sector students. Their expenditures during the visit contribute greatly to the Australian economy (Crawford & Barr, 2005).
Two thirds of education in Australia is run by the government, implying that most of its expenditures are on education. For example, in year 2007, the Australian governments, territories and state spent more than 30billion dollars in funding primary and secondary education, as well as support of higher learning. Generally, the economy of any country is normally dependant highly on political will. Compromise and a downturn or instability of a country's economy can greatly impact on the higher education sector. Australian funds are known to originate from the state and the commonwealth. Currently, economic crisis within Australia has the potential in reversing international students upstream. International education contribution to Australian economy was 12,5billion dollars in export income in fiscal 2007. Education plays the largest sector in export besides iron ore and coal in Australia. Australian universities depend on 15%funds from international students' fees. 18% of Australian enrollment to tertiary education or higher learning is international. The global economic deterioration as observed by ACER researcher director, Dr McKenzie will have a great impact to Australian economy than for any other. Australian currency presently has been volatile, although sustenance of the current position of their dollars would grant it a chance for more competitive positions for international students (Folmer & Tientenberg, 2003).
Economic factors will highly respond to questions on prospected demand for education places. China plays the greatest supplier of international students to Australia with 22% while India supplies 14%. Any impact on their country of origin economy would affect international enrollment of education in Australia (Johnes, 2004). Development of Free trade agreements which are bilateral will also affect international education in Australia. Individuals within countries in Asia Pacific regions and initiatives of such groups as ASEAN would assist in strengthening the educational corporation. Such agreements have made tremendous contribution to the rapid growth in education services. Most of the agreements have been newly introduced and their education provision is limited. Council of Education Research of Australia has undertaken research on consultancies, dissemination and training on the finance and economics of education and training.
3.1.3 Legal-Political Factor
There has been a general trend in support of international education in various cities within Australian under favorable legislations. As a result there has been a growing trend in overseas arrivals in search of quality education in Australia (Refer to Appendices A). Much of these trends have been made possible by the rich political will in support of international schooling in the key cities in Australia. For example, as drawn from the figures, by fiscal 2009 the month of November alone saw 485,000 arrivals reported in key cities. Much of thee were attributed to growing international education haven. One of the main objectives of education in Australia has been preparation of noncitizens to be socially and legally accepted as citizens. Civic education has played this role extensively in ensuring citizenship development through conveying distinct meaning, virtue and obligation in Australia. The report of Expert Group (1994) in Australia stated that education in facilitation of active citizenship had to enable Australians to liberate formalized citizenship obligations. Learning experiences within universities has facilitated student participation in activism.
Citing a case on Australian religious education, every week in NSW schools, thousands of children sit idly for an hour due to a deal passed in a century ago by the church lobby (Considine, 2000). The concern in the past was the states power in controlling education hence there were many religion approaches equal to the colonies. The Act of Public Instruction (i.e. PIA) by 1880 allowed religious education in schools but for less than an hour while the previous act had stated that the learning should never go less than an hour. The Act maintained that rights to parents withholding their children from attending such teachings be upheld. By the 1970s, students were opting out of the scripture classes and this pressured the government to review religion roles in education. Report by Rawlinson had a recognition of Special Religious Education (i. e SRE) to be for multi-ethnic society and approved its continuous dominance within the Australian state schools (Schwarz et al 2003). A recommendation was made for students not attending the SREs classes to be provided with purposeful secular learning. However the government kept the Act intact. In 2003, the Ethics centre requested for an ethics based course specifically for primary school students. However, the education minister rejected the proposal with claims of lacking public back-up. Carmel Tebbutt tabled the proposal again but it was subtly rejected.
3.1.4 Social-cultural Factors
NOM (i.e. Net Overseas Migration), has been nominally attributed by friendly as well as accommodating socio-cultural actors among Australian Citizens. Enabling as well as rich cultural issues in key cities, has boosted NOM since fiscal 2003, and as drawn from research by2056 the trend in Perth alone will hit its highs by nearly 116% in growth. The growth will see international education market accommodate more students within major cities Refer to Appendices C). Issues of violence has been reported to decline in recent days thus facilitating safe social upbringing in various communities which indicate positive image of Australians in accommodating foreigners. As a result, international education market has possibly contributed to the rise in families associated with change of citizenship after completing their rtespectives education programs (Schwarz et al 2003).
Similarly, the accommodating religious affiliation within Australian has helped the internal education sector attain a milestone. According to Thomson & Hayden (200), the diversity in religious groupings has assisted in building positive the social living in Australia such that any individual willing to seek higher education in various states can comfortably identify with their religious affiliations. This enabling social-cultural forces has seen the WPI (i.e. wage price Index), report higher in major sectors. Refer to Appendices D). In addition, the growth of international education has been attributed by rich cultural programs popularized in Australia via key Medias. These programs are streamlined in facilitating social cultural, skilled and international relations. Residents who are temporarily in Australia having to pay taxes on incomes earned within the country, and are not entitled to benefits from social welfare or in public health cover for. These has been some of key benefits that international education environment in Australia has been associated with. Requirements for Australian residency are health requirement or student visa information. Education visas allow research and education institutions and organizations in filling teaching, academic and research posts which were impossible to fill from the labour market of Australia. International students are offered an opportunity to experience the Australian culture or lifestyle (Lewins & Greig, 2003)
3.1.5 International factors
International relations between Australian and other world states have seen the population grow by big-margin, and the same trend is expected to continue beyond 2101 (refer to Appendices B). Research indicates that the growing population is mainly attributed to the ever increasing immigrants who vary their citizenships in hunt for affordable or even quality of education. For instance, the projection indicates that by 2101 the entire cities will hit highs of 60 million both from international arrivals as well as the local population trends.
International education within Australia has the potential to become a primary industry. Reputation has it that, it's the top most education destination. For example, in 2005, it had 17, 936students. International education is a significant contributor to the economy of the state. Similarly, international education industry contributes to cultural diversities or vibrancy of Australian community. However, Australia faces challenges of fierce international and interstate competition (Levy et al, 2007).This has therefore led to the Australians avoiding overreliance on country sources of smaller numbers, keeping the international students number at acceptable levels, both to educational and local communities. For example, above 90 education providers have availed overseas courses. They are inclusive of vocational training, higher education and foundation courses, among others. Marketing strategies and initiatives by education providers are being implemented, seeking to benefit all the sectors of education. The primary objective of every international student is achievement of quality and reputable education offered by Australia. To add to the recommended qualities of education within Australia, they have initiated developments of areas of counseling, accommodation, advocacy, welfare and social integration of international students.
An Australian committee is also venturing into acquiring overall feedback by international students, expressing their experience in Australia. This will assist averted possible problems encountered and device ways of curbing them. Scholarship programs have also been used as marketing strategy and attraction of more international students. Ensuring Australian students carry out their studies in Australia throughout has been commended as being cost effective strategy. Recommendations have been made concerning cooperative ventures development all over Australian educational sectors (Meara et al, 2001).
In conclusion, as observed, Australian economy has been able to grow economically due to high growth rate of international education. Students from abroad/overseas have funded the education system in Australia through the fees they pay. The sector has benefited a lot from positive political will from the government (Olsen & Davis, 1999). Despite the international education being environmentally affected by such factors as political relations, religion, history, cultures and languages among others, the benefits have been tremendous. Students have had an exposure to diverse world cultures and religion. These factors has made Australian international education segment thrive offering opportunity to drive higher education to greater heights.
Appendices A: Visitors September Key Figures
'09 NOVEMBER KEY FIGURES:
Oct '09 to Nov '09
Nov '08 to Nov '09
Short-term visitor arrivals
Short-term resident departures
Appendices B: population Projection
PROJECTED POPULATION, Australia
Appendices D: WPI, Fiscal 2005 and beyond
WPI - Quarterly changes: Trend (a), Fiscal 2005 and Beyond
WPI - Annual change: original, Total hourly rates of pay excluding bonuses - For selected industries, Sep Qtr 2009
Retrieved on 24th January, 2010 from: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/6345.0/
GDP growth rates, Volume measures, quarterly change
Contributions to GDP growth, Seasonally adjusted