IEAA Vista magazine - Winter 2015

Page 1



Gamification and the Quest for Global Employability Australia: First Choice Study Destination for Employability? Where There is a WIL, There is a Way (For Alumni to Make a Difference)



INSERT SIDE TAB TEXT PUBLISHED BY International Education Association of Australia (IEAA) PO Box 12917 A’Beckett Street Melbourne VIC 8006 Australia + 61 3 9925 4579 Vista is an open access magazine produced by IEAA twice a year. It features in-depth analysis, insights and commentary on international education in Australia and around the world. We welcome contributions from readers and industry experts. If you would like to contribute to a forthcoming edition, please contact Peter Muntz at All rights reserved. Articles may be reproduced with permission. Opinions expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the position of IEAA. Copyright © 2015 COVER IMAGE sumkinn (iStock) GRAPHIC DESIGN Heidi Adams, Peter Muntz










Nannette Ripmeester and Veronika Norvaisaite BEYOND THE GLASS CEILING




Dimity Huckel and Keri Ramirez COLOMBIA ON THE RISE











GAMIFICATION AND (THE QUEST FOR) GLOBAL EMPLOYABILITY Think twice before you give the evil eye to students on their smartphones in class – they might actually be learning, write Nannette Ripmeester and Veronika Norvaisaite. Page 16



Dimity Huckel and Keri Ramirez provide an analysis of international tuition fees in Australia. Page 26

Colombia is transforming into one of the strongest economies in South America, writes Camilo Pena. Page 30



FORWARD The current level of government consultation and coordination is certainly welcomed and a positive step forward, writes Brett Blacker. Based on a quick recap of the past few months, I certainly think we are making headway in the international education sector. Some key examples of how a coordinated (rather than fractured) approach is in the nation's best interests, include: ■■ The 'Draft National Strategy for International Education' ■■ Sector-wide consultation for Austrade’s 'Australia International Education (AIE) 2025' strategy ■■ International Education Roundtables and the establishment of the Coordinating Council for International Education, and ■■ The announcement of the Simplified Student Visa Framework (SSVF). I doubt anyone could argue that our sector has not had its fair share of attention over the past few months.


While that included some less than flattering press through separate papers from the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) NSW and the Productivity Commission – not to mention the ABC’s Four Corners story – the Federal Government should be applauded for the landmark steps to ensure international education stakeholders have a strong voice and a roadmap for the future. What has been most pleasing is the level of sector-wide engagement from Government with the various initiatives. The 'Draft National Strategy for International Education' invited feedback from across the sector and the strategy will be finalised through oversight of the Coordinating Council for International Education.

The Council comprises six Government ministers and six education and industry experts (including IEAA's Phil Honeywood) and will be chaired by the Minister for Education and Training, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP. It is hoped that a further Ministerial Coordinating Council for International Education (with a longer term attached to it) will be established after the rollout of the national strategy. As we know, this was a recommendation of the International Education Advisory Council, chaired by Michael Chaney AO, back in 2013. It has been a lobbying point for IEAA and the wider sector since this date and remains a key agenda item for long-term coordination. The establishment of this current council with its specific terms of reference and good cross government and sector representation is a positive step forward in the shorter term. Two industry roundtables are also being undertaken as part of the consultation process. The first was completed in June and the second is to take place in August. Participation in these roundtables are by invitation and aim to ensure the final strategy represents a shared national vision and responsibility. The eagerly awaited final strategy is to be released in the second half of 2015.

AIE 2015 The Minister for Trade and Investment, the Hon Andrew Robb AO MP (also a member of the Coordinating Council), has provided portfolio support for international education by commencing the development of AIE 2025, a long-term market development strategy being coordinated through Austrade. A series of consultation workshops were held across the nation in April, attended by over 800 people.

Two key questions were put to participants at each of the workshops: 1. Could Australia double the number of students and study visitors onshore? 2. Could Australia reach up to 10 million people offshore? The consultation workshops and indeed the development of the 10year marketing plan are welcome. However, it will also need to come with a commitment to support Austrade and the international education industry financially (where appropriate) to enable the strategies to be achieved.

with their visa application and determine the level of financial capacity and English language documentation required for the visa application. Students will be able to obtain this guidance by entering the intended education provider and their country of citizenship into the online tool. There is little doubt that the introduction of Streamlined Visa Processing (SVP) arrangements has supported sector growth for those who have been eligible to participate – mainly universities and a small number of subsequent invited institutions.

The biggest news in recent weeks came from Minister for Education, Christopher Pyne, and Assistant Minister for Immigration, Michaelia Cash, with the announcement of the Simplified Student Visa Framework (SSVF), released as part of the 'Future Directions for Streamlined Visa Processing Report'.

The initial model was not perfect in regard to the costs borne by providers or the perverse choice of some students to use the system to gain the initial visa through the streamlined arrangement and then ‘hop’ into an alternative program once onshore. The government has obviously listened to sector feedback and has taken a proactive position in both extending the framework across the sector while aiming to ensure the overall integrity of the immigration system.

The new framework is planned to come into effect in mid-2016 (pending formal regulatory processes) and will provide a level playing field across the sector based on the combined immigration risk outcomes of the student’s education provider and country of citizenship.

There is still a lot of detail to be delivered in the national strategy and AIE 2025, but the current level of government consultation, cross government liaison and cooperation – coupled with a commitment to planning and coordination – is certainly welcomed and a positive step forward.

The AIE 2025 consultation workshops report is available on the Austrade website at

Introducing SSVF

The reduction of student visa subclasses from eight to two should provide significant simplification to the current process. Under the proposed framework, there will only be one student visa subclass for which all prospective students will apply.

Brett Blacker is President of IEAA. In August, he will take up the position of CEO at English Australia.

One of the most exciting developments to be introduced will be the online assessment tool. This is hoped to support students in identifying what documentation they will be required to provide WINTER 2015 | 5


AUSTRALIA: First Choice Study Destination for Employability? Australia has much to learn from our international competitors when it comes to enhancing student employability, writes Phil Honeywood. As readers of Vista, and indeed all IEAA members would be aware, our Association chose to focus on two key international student issues in 2015: employability and accommodation. In addition to the excellent 1–2 day specialist forums which our Special Interest Groups (SIGs) have hosted this year, we believe that these two macro challenges for ‘brand Australia’ merit special attention. IEAA was delighted with the number and diversity of attendees at our national symposium on International Student Employability held in Melbourne on Friday 15 May, as well as our national symposium on International Student Accommodation held in Sydney on Friday 26 June. The key to the success of the employability symposium was the guidance provided by a volunteer steering committee comprised of experts drawn from business, universities, TAFE and private education providers.


These experts reminded us that international student surveys consistently highlight a strong expectation that study destination countries, and their education institutions, will provide meaningful course related work opportunities. Over 67 per cent of all students graduating from universities in the United States can now expect to have at least one substantive paid or unpaid internship during their studies (Austrade, 2013). Canada also has a long tradition of providing internship opportunities. In the United Kingdom, best practice universities proactively counsel their international students, early in the first year of their enrolment, about how to access course related extra-curricular and part-time work opportunities. These universities are now even organising job fairs in their graduating international students' home countries to assist their transition into the workforce back home.

WINTER 2015 | 7


Factoring in this advice, IEAA was determined that our national symposium would not just be a one-off talk fest. Instead, in consultation with the committee, we commissioned three good practice guides on how international students, education providers and employers can better maximise employability skills and opportunities. Attendees then workshopped each of the draft guides at the symposium.

A recent report that international students graduating from STEM courses in the United States may soon be offered six-year, post-study work right visas has excited much interest in our major student source countries including India and China. The fact that Canada and New Zealand are still offering onshore migration is also acting as a significant pull factor for many students. International Student Employability Guide Written by Jo Doyle from Trinity College and sponsored by ETS TOEFL, this guide focusses on advice to students about starting out, identifying their career goals and honing in on the key attributes employers are looking for. It then sets out tips for acquiring employability skills in the first, second and final years of study in Australia. Finally, the guide provides advice to students for the postgraduation period and emphasises the importance of managing expectations, knowing their rights and the benefits of lifelong learning. IEAA was delighted to officially launch this guide at the Council of International Students in Australia's (CISA) annual conference on Monday 6 July.


Education Provider Guide Written by Deakin University academic, Dr Cate Gribble, and sponsored by the Victorian State and Federal Governments, this guide identifies nine good practice principles that our education providers are encouraged to embrace. It advises them to treat employability as core business, embed employability skills into their curricula from first year and provide international students with concurrent English language learning opportunities. It also provides useful examples of how to better integrate domestic and international students. IEAA was pleased to launch this guide at a joint seminar with the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education (OBHE) on Thursday 9 July.

Employer Guide Written in partnership with the Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI), this guide adopts the theme of how Australian employers can benefit from hiring international students. It contains separate sections on hiring international students and what policies apply, as well as managing interns and graduates. It also contains some excellent case studies of metropolitan and regional employers and how they have benefited from hiring international students. This guide will be launched in the near future at an appropriate employer focussed event.

Speakers at the symposium also identified Australia as a relative latecomer in focussing on employability skills provision. Rob Lawrence, who recently conducted a research project on employability for the Australian Universities International Directors’ Forum (AUIDF), noted that many Australian education institutions have yet to resource their careers counselling services sufficiently to match competitor country initiatives. Others noted that our complex industrial relations system does not encourage Australian employers to embrace internship arrangements. Recent policy work saw the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Australian Collaborative Education Network (ACEN), Australian Industry Group (AIG), Business Council of Australia and Universities Australia combining to launch a National Work Integrated Learning (WIL) strategy – a policy that was applauded. However, symposium attendees agreed that a comprehensive communications campaign will be required if this WIL policy is to gain traction. The symposium also concluded that other employability related skills such as building self-confidence, embracing cocurricular activities and engaging in cross cultural group work still require greater emphasis from all stakeholders.

A recent report that international students graduating from American universities in STEM courses may soon be offered six-year, poststudy work right visas has excited much interest in our major student source countries including India and China. The fact that Canada and New Zealand are still offering onshore migration related to a period of study in their countries is also acting as a significant pull factor for many students. IEAA believes that one of the important roles we can fulfil in our dynamic international education sector is to provide thought leadership and enhance collaboration between all stakeholders. Accordingly, we ensured that employability was a major topic raised at the recent International Education Roundtable as well as the subsequent meeting of the Ministerial Coordinating Council for International Education. The issue has also been highlighted in our Association's submission to the 'Draft National Strategy for International Education'. The challenge for all stakeholders now will be to transform this important discourse into meaningful policy reform and implementation. Phil Honeywood is Chief Executive Officer of IEAA.

For more information, visit

The danger of complacency taking hold in this key student service delivery area is still ever present. In this context, Australia would do well to remember the employability policies that a number of other student destination countries are now embracing.

WINTER 2015 | 9




The time is now for institutions to identify opportunities for alumni to take an active role in developing the next generation of Australian-educated professionals, writes Gretchen Dobson. Earlier this year, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Australian Collaborative Education Network (ACEN), Australian Industry Group (AIG), Business Council of Australia and Universities Australia released the ‘National Strategy for Work Integrated Learning (WIL) in University Education’. The impetus for WIL is that it prepares students for a smoother transition between university and the workforce. It provides a nexus for in-and-out-of-classroom learning and presents key partners – from universities, industry, community and research entities – an opportunity to influence and shape today’s curriculum to best prepare Australia’s graduates for the workplace.

10 | VISTA

The renewed and coordinated national focus on WIL is a call for all key stakeholders to remain responsible and proactive with the opportunities to develop new projects, and enhance existing ones. This will ensure the Australian higher education community can remain an international leader in addressing the growing demand from students in a competitive marketplace both at home and abroad. The National WIL Strategy is comprised of eight key priorities: 1) Provide national leadership to expand WIL 2) Clarify government policy and regulatory settings to enable and support growth of WIL 3) Build support – among students, universities and employers across all sectors and governments – to increase participation in WIL

4) Ensure investment in WIL is well targeted and enables sustainable, high quality experiences, stakeholder participation and growth 5) Develop university resources, processes and systems to grow WIL and engage community and business partners 6) Build capacity for more employers to participate in WIL 7) Address equity and access issues to enable students to participate in WIL 8) Increase WIL opportunities for international students and for domestic students to study offshore. Of the eight focal points, priorities 3–8 can be enhanced by the involvement of one more partnership: that of alumni.

INSERT SIDE TAB TEXT We need to shift a longstanding culture within Australia whereby ‘alumni’ was a foreign word. Until recently, the term alumni has been little more than a nonexistent relationship between graduate and alma mater. Not once in the 12-page report is the term alumni mentioned and that is an oversight. Although not entirely the fault of any party, universities, State and Federal government departments charged with the development and support of the Australian education brand now have a responsibility to connect the dots between their graduates (i.e. their alumni ambassadors) and the student experience. This requires some work in shifting a long-standing culture within Australia whereby alumni was a foreign word. Until recently, the term 'alumni' has been little more than a non-existent relationship between graduate and alma mater experienced by select graduates of private secondary schools, international masters or PhD students from institutions steeped in alumni traditions.

The National WIL strategy is calling for enhanced partnerships. At the heart of that call to action are relationships. Where there is a WIL, there is a way for alumni to play a critical role in enabling students’ success. Many people in the international education sector will likely focus on priority 8 (“increase WIL opportunities for international students and for domestic students to study offshore”) and wonder how international alumni can make a difference. There are at least three ways that international alumni partnerships can enhance these opportunities.

Summerships ‘Summerships’ is a program whereby alumni representing a specific professional field or industry host a 1–2 week internship for current students during summer break.

Interested academic faculties, the alumni office and, perhaps, career services start planning in the winter; students apply in the spring for the chance to be matched with an alumni host. Decisions are confirmed by 1 December to give students ample time to arrange travel and housing. (These arrangements are typically not included in the logistics, but local housing can be arranged with alumni and families interested in contributing to the program.) During the January Summership week, the alumni office sponsors alumni-student receptions (in collaboration with the corresponding academic faculty and regional chapter). These are usually the only opportunity during the Summership period where all students and alumni hosts are invited to share their experiences and network with each other. WINTER 2015 | 11


Events may take the form of a simple continental breakfast set up in one of the alumni host’s boardrooms, a make-your-own sandwich bar at lunch or a late afternoon ice cream social. Institutions at early stages of developing an international alumni cohort should invite alumni to develop placements by considering the presence of major industries and corporations within a region. Program organisers may identify a natural match between alumni professional backgrounds (e.g. engineering) and a popular degree program on campus.

Professors of the Practice Multinational companies are scattered around the world and growing industries such as energy, agriculture and trade employ Aussie graduates for their willingness to remain mobile and adaptive in today’s demanding global business environments. These alumni have much to share with undergraduate and graduate students and can be invited back to their host campus for the opportunity to go back into the classroom as a ‘Professor of the Practice’. Whether it is an evening lecture, a day of leading a laboratory exercise or a weeklong seminar series, the point is that alumni are invited to share their experiences and expertise to benefit students. The linkages with alumni also promote their company and introduce new (or reinforce existing) relationships with careers and employability offices. This leads to more opportunity for both international students and domestic students seeking offshore experiences. In relation to priority 7, developing Professors of the Practice programs featuring women, international alumni or specific industries may address specific institutional priorities around social inclusion, diversity and/or Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).

12 | VISTA

International WIL advisory teams On the agenda for priority 8 are objectives to enhance support for international students and employers participating in WIL. As we know, culture affects workplace environments and community norms may impact students’ experience abroad as well as how employers prepare for and provide appropriate work placements. Having worked in these settings, alumni can provide key insights to institutions and government scholarship programs seeking the most upto-date information to support students during critical periods (e.g. workplace orientation, re-entry to university or post-graduation). Developing an international WIL advisory team is cost-effective if managed and supported through online tools. However, the key is to manage expectations well. Define the exact scope of this type of advisory group, job descriptions and a workplan for engaging alumni at each stage of their volunteer service. The time is now for institutions to identify opportunities for alumni to raise their hand and take an active role in developing the next generation of Australian-educated professionals. According to the report, the National WIL Strategy has no end date – nor do alumni relationships. Dr. Gretchen Dobson is a global alumni relations consultant who develops international advancement programs for educational institutions, non-profit organisations and governments around the world. She is based in Brisbane.


National Strategy on Work Integrated Learning in University Education’, Universities Australia

AND THE FUTURE: Reconceptualising how we prepare future graduates Fostering global mindsets among students is challenging but essential to preparing work-ready graduates, write Craig Whitsed and Wendy Green.

Youth unemployment in Australia is at an average of 12.4 per cent. In some parts of the country it has topped an alarming 20 per cent1. Considering the figure is likely to rise if urgent real world measures are not introduced, the future looks bleak. The seriousness of the issue is underscored by its ongoing presence in the media. In an episode of the ABC’s Q&A earlier this year, Kate Carnell from the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) argued that businesses can play a significant role in addressing youth unemployment, but raised the work-readiness of graduates as a major problem. “A lot of the training that young people are doing at university or in other places just isn't relevant … so we've got to get our training programs better in line. Not with what universities or training operators want to provide, but what business and young people want to be doing,” Carnell stressed.

Reducing university education to ‘training’ might well cause some to flinch, as this suggestion seems to devalue the liberal and ethical facets afforded by a higher education. Responding to Carnell, Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen argued that the solution to youth unemployment is investing in education to give people the skills they need in this rapidly changing world. “The entry level jobs that many young people use to get into the workforce are disappearing at a rapid rate … and a lot of the jobs that will exist for young people in the future just don't exist now.” Bowen is correct, many future jobs are, as yet, beyond our capacity to imagine. The range of skills and abilities needed in the future are equally difficult to envision. But imagine we must. In our view, the emphasis on training and skills is too narrow. In the neo-liberal economy, with its emphasis on human resource capital production, it is easy to

overlook other significant facets of the learning experience: dispositions and mindsets. The present skills and training discourse and debate leads us to question the role of education institutions in preparing students for life and work in the 21st century.

Future proofing education The rising Asian economy will provide graduates from Australian universities with many opportunities, but challenges such as climate change, energy, food, water and border security will also emerge. Our graduates need to be agile, flexible and adaptive to respond to such challenges, which will impact the economy of the region. How are universities going to better prepare graduates for an uncertain future, while simultaneously ensuring their training remains relevant or, in the words of at least one Australian university, ‘future proof’?

WINTER 2015 | 13




Certainly, all education providers are looking to the future and moving to address the concerns of employers and graduates. However, reconceptualising how we prepare graduates means more than addressing the cognitive and behavioural dimensions of their learning experience. It requires looking at ways to develop new dispositions and mindsets. We are not solely talking about students, but the sector as a whole. In this era of plurality, fluidity and hybridity, perhaps the most significant contribution we can make to better prepare graduates is to provide educational opportunities and experiences that enable them to negotiate and thrive in a future where uncertainty and complexity will pervade all aspects of life.

Disruptive shifts in the contemporary landscape What we know is that learning spaces need to be both broad (with a focus on interdisciplinary approaches to solving complex social, economic and physical problems) and deep to encourage different ways of working and interacting together. According to one group2, disruptive forces driving a reconceptualisation of the skills debate include: extreme longevity, increasingly smarter machines and systems, global connectivity, climate change adaptation and shifts in geopolitical power structures. One articulation of future work skills emphasises a range of attributes not immediately apparent in the standard generic graduate attribute list common across Australian universities. These include: ■■ Sense-making: 'ability to determine the deeper meaning or significance of ...' ■■ Social intelligence: ability to connect to others in a deep and direct way, to sense and stimulate reactions and desired interactions 14 | VISTA

■■ Cognitive load management: ability to discriminate and filter information for importance and to understand how to maximise cognitive functioning using a variety of tools and techniques3. The verb ‘ability to’ implies not only capability in the sense of skills but, more importantly, a preparedness to adapt and respond as the environment changes. Without the right form of nurturing in learning environments that encourage more reflective and critical forms of introspection, it is unlikely that students will develop the ability to develop 21st century skills. A reconceptualisation is needed.

Disposition and the global mindset One way we might re-consider the issues of youth preparedness is to think more about how educational institutions prepare one to be in and respond to the world and their environment. Joseph Mestenhauser's book Reflections on the Past, Present and Future of Internationalisation4 speaks to the importance of addressing mindsets as a core component of the learning experience. Mestenhauser argued certain dispositions are prerequisites to critical thinking and if these are not satisfied, then critical thinking will not develop. We could debate this point, however Mestenhauser made some pertinent points of great relevance to us as educators developing future learning spaces. According to Mestenhauser, dispositions are developed in both formal spaces and through one’s life experiences. They are also influenced by interactions with media, social, economic and political structures. Dispositions are more than opinions and or biases. They are orientations, habits of mind that develop over long periods of time and “accumulate into a thick cognitive map” to become “firmly established mental models that are

consistent, difficult to change” and “form a basis of peoples actions”. Dispositions can be negative, positive or a combination of both. Creating learning spaces that encourage students to shift their established dispositions is challenging, but vital if we are to better prepare graduates for uncertain employment conditions and the circumstances of change. Howard Gardner5 observed that environmental influences affect cognitive shifts. These can disrupt people’s established dispositions such that they “abandon the way in which they have customarily thought about issues or importance and henceforth conceive of it in a new way.” Mestenhauser observed through his long experience with international students that cognitive shifts: took place because the individuals involved in them were cognitively flexible and creative enough to see the need for the shifts and to expect them [and they were exposed] to outside influences and stimuli. In order to negotiate the unknowable, future students need to develop not only their skills, but their critical and emotional resources. In a survey of over 800 graduate level job advertisements6, the following attributes were identified as being sought by employers: resilience, efficacy, self-regulation, flexibility, confidence, positivity, selfreliance, interdependence and a sense of humour. Another articulation of these attributes is a global mindset. Mazbievski & Lane define this as the ability to “develop and interpret criteria … that are independent from the assumptions of a single country, culture or context; and to implement those criteria appropriately in different countries, cultures, and contexts”7.

The most significant contribution we can make to better prepare graduates is to provide educational opportunities and experiences that enable them to negotiate and thrive in a future where uncertainty and complexity will pervade all aspects of life. Internationalisation of the curriculum and mobility Structuring formal learning spaces that disrupt students’ established, fixed or parochial dispositions and engender more global mindsets is challenging. Yet, a significant body of evidence suggests that when students are exposed to international experiences (in and outside of class) they are more likely to broaden their perspectives and develop the dispositions and mindsets so necessary for their future wellbeing and employment prospects. We need teachers in all education sectors – schools, VET and universities – who can teach a curriculum that encourages students to move beyond the parochialism of the now through journeys of discovery abroad and within our own multicultural society. We need teachers who can create learning spaces ripe with potential for the development of more global mindsets, teachers who can prepare students to face the demands of living and working in a far more interconnected future.

Dr Craig Whitsed is Senior Lecturer for the Centre for University Teaching and Learning at Murdoch University. Dr Wendy Green is Senior Lecturer for the Tasmanian Institute of Learning and Teaching at the University of Tasmania. She is also the Convener of IEAA’s Internationalisation of the Curriculum SIG.

1. 02-24/youthunemployment-at-crisis-point/5278436

2. Davies, A., Fidler, D., & Gorbid, M. (2011). Future work skills 2020. Institute for the Future of the University of Phoenix Research Institute: University of Phoenix. 3. Ibid. 4. Mestenhauser, J. (2011). Reflections on the Past, Present, and Future of Internationalizing Higher Education: Discovering opportunities to meet the challenges. Minnesota: University of Minnesota. We’d like to acknowledge his recent passing and his significant contribution to internationalisation. 5. Gardner, H. (2006). Changing Minds: The Art and Science of Changing Our Own and Other People's Minds, Harvard Business School Press. 6. Girardi, A., & Whitsed, C. (2014). Employability skills in graduate level job advertisements. Project ongoing: Murdoch University. 7. Maznievsky, M. L., & Lane, H. W. (2004). 'Shaping the global mindset: Designing educational experiences for effective global thinking and action'. In N. A. Boyacigiller, R. A. Goodman, & M.E. Phillips (2004). Crossing Cultures: Insights from Master Teachers: Taylor & Francis (p.172).

WINTER 2015 | 15



Think twice before you give the evil eye to students on their smartphones in class – they might actually be learning, write Nannette Ripmeester and Veronika Norvaisaite.

16 | VISTA

1 Technology is a vehicle, not a goal Most aspects of our lives are increasingly ‘wired up’ and education is no exception: course registration, assignments and a large part of communication happens online. But just because our fresh-faced students are checking their messages on iWatch, doesn’t mean everything in education should be computerised. To give a very frustrating example: here in the Netherlands, we consider ourselves pretty progressive. Even paying in cash is considered archaic. Whether it’s taking a tram, getting food in the canteen or using the copy machine, there’s a card for everything! Although we must move forward with technology, we shouldn’t overcomplicate things or forget that not everyone has ready access to it. For career advice in education, that means introducing automation if and where applicable.

Employability is the buzz word du jour in international education. Gamification isn't far behind. Here we share our top 10 tips for how gamification – that is, the use of game elements in non-game environments – can enhance the employability of your students in the global workplace.

2 Speak the language of your students Successful communication with students means speaking their language. CourseSmart and Wakefield research1 has shown a staggering 73 per cent of undergraduates wouldn’t be able to study without technology – a finding confirmed by all those students glued to their smart phones. Chances are, they’re not writing emails or revising lecture notes, they’re ‘apping’ instead. Younger generations tend to have a very short attention span due to the vast overflow of information. That’s why being online is not enough – digital careers advice has to be engaging. When talking about employability2, there’s a big difference between how it’s perceived by soon-to-be graduates and alumni who are already in the labour market. Knowing the demographics of your audience will help you reach and assist them better. 1


3 Gamification for the sake of it? Just like computerising everything because it’s hip (the movie Transformers springs to mind), gamification shouldn’t be introduced simply because it’s the next big thing. First and foremost, determine whether it fits the style of your organisation and your target audience. Then work out your objectives. For example, if you want to enhance your students’ soft skills, find out whether gamification is the best means of doing so. Clear goals will help you identify the activity you want to drive – whether it’s informing, teaching, testing or practicing existing knowledge in a safe environment.



Games are fun! One of the best things about gamification is that it’s great fun. Why else would we spend three billion hours a week playing computer games?! FarmVille alone attracts 28 million users every day3. Online games have the obvious advantage of visual appeal, players can see the immediate effects of their actions, get bonuses for their achievements and, in some cases, even challenge each other. It’s much easier for students to absorb information if they like what they’re doing. The same logic can be applied to career advice. For example, teaches users about cultural sensitivity, job-hunting and doing business by presenting them with different country scenarios and rewarding them with culture tips for making the correct choices. The fun factor is also a strong selling point when introducing your students to a new platform. You have to make sure it’s enjoyable! Ask yourself if it’s challenging, understandable and enables users to progress. It should also be easy on the eye and free of technical glitches.

3, ‘Moving Learning Games Forward’ by MIT Education Arcade, gamification-education

Are games for real?

5 5 Games are also for serious learning This may come as a surprise, but students don’t need information: they are more than able to look up anything they need on the internet. What they do need is to grasp the essence of the subject at hand. Confucius had it right when he said, “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” Gamification in careers and employment should be built on this very principle. Students should be able to read what’s required of them in the labour market, assess the knowledge and practise it. And we’re not just talking about writing a winning CV. Too often the importance of soft skills is overlooked in education. Although it might be crucial for students to master their subject disciplines (hard skills), not knowing job interview etiquette for a particular country4 or how to communicate ideas efficiently (soft skills) may cost them a job. Gamification offers a perfect platform for introducing this knowledge and engaging students with the material. 4

18 | VISTA

Well, yes and no. Interactive games give users the experience of real life situations. Remember fire drills and flight simulations? Although taking place in different settings, both fabricated scenarios teach participants how to act and react to circumstances in reality. The same can be observed in the Harvard Business School’s strategic innovation game ‘Back Bay’5 where students have to make investment decisions based on the information they gather. This is useful experience if you want to work on the stock market. In the game, however, players can get fired multiple times. Although this isn’t the same as working in a real company, it gives users a much-needed chance to practice. 5 aspx?num=37262



Dealing with the ‘F’ word Failure. It’s not easy to muster the energy to re-sit an exam and it certainly doesn’t get any easier to give 100 per cent for yet another job interview. Gamification normalises the painful notion of failure and turns it into a possibility to improve. Dying, getting fired, picking the wrong option and levelling down doesn’t put people off from playing again – it motivates them to push their limits and get better. Although gamification in career advice is designed to prepare students and minimise their chances of failure, students who learn from their mistakes will be better able to deal with the ups and downs of working life.

Diverse, global and connected

88 Game on! Careers and employment advisers often ask, ‘But how do you know the students will want to play?’ If gamification is implemented correctly, this should be the least of your worries. A study conducted on a maths game showed that students solved a greater number of problems, and with a higher level of difficulty, than they would have without the gaming element6. And all of this voluntarily. Moreover, people tend to seek career advice when they experience difficulty or when they want to avoid rookie mistakes. Wrapped up as a game, career support becomes more attractive and easier to grasp. It’s also easier to disseminate to a larger group, including those who claim they don’t need it. 6

As career advisers well know, there’s no one-sizefits-all approach – especially when students have diverse cultural and educational backgrounds, different professional experience and future aspirations. Catering to them all means customising our advice, but everyone’s time and capacity is limited. Human contact can never be replaced, but it can be enhanced with a self-service system available to students 24/7 and shows information based on user’s personal input. Interactive gamification ticks all of these boxes.

Lee J., Luchini, K., Micheal, B., Norris, C., & Soloway, E. (2004). More than just fun and games: Assessing the value of educational video games in the classroom. Paper presented at the CHI 04 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Vienna, Austria.

WINTER 2015 | 19

10 Creating and building games Anyone can play a game, but creating and building one is a completely different story. If you are considering making an in-house career game for your students, you’ll need at least three components: content, IT skills and design. Cooperation between the three is not always smooth as each of these components approach game creation from very different angles. We have been through the experience, but it is rewarding to see the end result – particularly when organising a game challenge and seeing the students’ appetite to compete with each other. As one student commented afterwards, “this was the perfect way to engage with career tips and getting to know info I deemed not relevant. It made me understand what is required to get hired.”


An app aimed at recent graduates and alumni from education institutions to support their career path and strengthen their connection to their university.

2 Duolingo

A free language learning app.

3 Ribbon Hero

A Microsoft game to help educate users of Office 2007 and 2010 to use the tools available in the new ribbon interface. 4

A classroom management game for teachers to encourage certain student behaviour with rewards and provide instant feedback.

5 GoalBook

Brings student teams together around their individual learning plans.

This article is based on an IEAA webinar, ‘Gamification and (the Quest for) Global Employability’, presented by Nannette Ripmeester in February 2015. Nannette and Veronika work for Expertise in Labour Mobility where they work to find solutions to ease the transition from education to the global world of work. They are part of the team that developed CareerProfessor. works, which is an example of how gamification can be used to enhance the employability of graduates.


6 Brainscape

A mobile and web platform using algorithms to create flashcards, whose presentation pattern can change in response to students’ confidence on the topic.

7 World Cleanup Game

A fun incentive to become part of an environment cleaning initiative.

8 EpicWin

Turns ‘To Do’ lists into quests and rewards completed tasks with levelling up and experience points.

9 Merchants

Training your negotiation and conflict resolution skills as a merchant in 15th century Venice. 10

Back Bay Battery

A strategic innovation simulation game by Harvard Business School

20 | VISTA


CEILING Dawn Hewitt speaks to some inspiring women in international education and captures a few kernels of their wisdom on women and leadership. Each year on 8 March, the world celebrates International Women’s Day. It is a day to acknowledge the advancements in economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. It is also a day of global recognition reflecting on the roles women play in their personal and professional circles and the associated responsibilities therein. Personally, International Women’s Day prompts me to consider how I might contribute to positive advancements within my areas of influence and, in particular, to the discourses of international education. I have come to realise that making a positive contribution doesn’t have to be arduous. Nor does it require a lifetime of experience. Instead, it is often about identifying one’s strengths and applying them to areas that may inspire and challenge others. Leadership – and more specifically women in leadership – has proven to be this space for me.

At the Australian International Education Conference in 2014, Dr Davina Potts (Director, Global Engagement at the Australian National University) and I co-chaired a session on ‘Navigating Careers in International Education and Mobility: a Discussion for Aspiring Women Leaders’. Based on the overwhelming feedback we received, it was evident there was a need to establish a platform for robust dialogue enabling women to discuss issues around gender equality, career progression and the challenges of balancing work and life. Across the international education sector, there are many inspiring women who exemplify positive role models in leadership. In an attempt to capture a few kernels of their wisdom, I devised a set of five standard questions to explore their influences, drivers and views on the issues affecting women in our industry. I am thrilled to have the privilege to profile these exceptional women and share their insights. Their responses are frank and candid, and I trust that you will find their perspectives as inspiring and educational as I have. WINTER 2015 | 21

When it all seems too hard, too much of a stretch, take just a little step into the unknown. It makes it easier to take the next step and then the one after. Helen Zimmerman

Helen Zimmerman 1. Who has most positively influenced your professional career and why? Many people – my parents, some great bosses, family, mentors. What they all have had in common was an ability to build confidence in me; that they believed in my potential to take on challenges and new opportunities. 2. What is the best and worst decision you've ever made? The best was to trust my own judgement on a significant commercial decision, despite receiving contrary advice from senior external advisers. The worst was in my first management role when I deliberately did not acknowledge the contribution of a team member because I saw them as a threat to my position.

22 | VISTA

Immediate Past President, International Education Association of Australia (IEAA)

It still makes me feel ashamed after 35 years. However, it taught me that everyone needs and deserves their ‘place in the sun’. In leading organisations you will only get there if people feel acknowledged and valued for their part in the journey. 3. What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership? Not enough male and female senior leaders actively address unconscious bias in their organisations or sponsor talented women.

4. What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow as a leader? Exploring new ideas and listening to people younger or different to me. 5. If you could pass on one piece of advice to aspiring women in leadership, what would that be? When it all seems too hard, too much of a stretch, take just a little step into the unknown. It makes it easier to take the next step and then the one after.

Good decisions tend to be those taken after listening not only to advice from others but also listening to that inner voice, the one that keeps you awake at night if it’s not comfortable with the decisions you’ve made. Laura Howard

Laura Howard 1. Who has most positively influenced your professional career and why? Over a decade ago, Michael Cooper, who I knew through the Compostela Group of Universities, told me there was a vacancy on the board of EDC (EAIE’s expert community for Educational Cooperation with Developing Countries), and he suggested that given my profile, I should apply. That was my first step into the leadership of the EAIE and, since then, Michael has always been an encouraging, supportive figure in my career and I’m very grateful to him for that. 2. What is the best and worst decision you've ever made? This is a tricky one. I can’t think of any particularly relevant decisions either good or bad that would resonate with a wider audience.

President, European Association for International Education (EAIE)

But what I can say is that the good decisions tend to be those taken after listening not only to advice from others but also listening to that inner voice, the one that keeps you awake at night if it’s not comfortable with the decisions you’ve made. 3. What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership? Although it may seem overly simplistic, I think women leaders often feel we have to prove ourselves by trying to be super women and being able to cope with everything. I think we find it difficult to ask for help when we need it. The fear of not being able to deal with it all ourselves holds a lot of women back from roles as leaders.

4. What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow as a leader? I’m fortunate in that the EAIE has a leadership training program for all its volunteers, which provides a lot of insight into what it means to be a leader. The two years as vice-president were also a huge learning curve about leading an international association like the EAIE, and the past presidents are always available to give advice. Finally, meeting up with the leaders of other similar associations at international events and sharing experiences with them helps me further develop as a leader. 5. If you could pass on one piece of advice to aspiring women in leadership, what would that be? I think all leaders, be they male or female, need to bear in mind that the role of a leader is not to know everything and have all the answers, but to know where the answers are and help them to surface. WINTER 2015 | 23

24 | VISTA

IEAA members save $260 on the full conference fee

WINTER 2015 | 25



26 | VISTA

Pricing is one of the most important elements of the marketing mix and, for the international education sector in particular, it is a complex process. It involves a great understanding of market conditions, the position of competitors in the marketplace, fluctuations in exchange rates for several currencies and managing not just one product, but a large portfolio of education programs with unique characteristics. In addition, a pricing strategy for international students not only has implications affecting the perception of where education providers sit in the marketplace; it also represents an essential component of the institution’s financial planning. Setting the right price should maximise each institution’s international recruitment efforts and ensure they reach their overall financial goals according to university budgets.

The competition is nationwide Traditionally, the analysis of pricing for international students at Australian universities was based mainly on the position each institution had in their city, state or territory. This was once an effective strategy, given that researching the price for all programs at all Australian universities was a complicated and time consuming exercise. Looking at an institution’s direct competitors has been a vital component to the traditional decision-making process when international students decided where and what to study. First they chose the city in which they would like to live, then the institution where their program of choice was offered. As a result, it made sense that Australian providers set their pricing strategy for international students against other institutions in the same city, state or territory. The environment is changing and now the competition is nationwide. Currently, Australian providers are experiencing a more competitive environment within our own borders. We now need to have a greater understanding of the pricing strategies of our competitors nationally – not just from a state or territory perspective. There is also evidence to suggest prospective students are changing the way in which they select their preferred program.

Pricing might not be as glamorous as promotion, but it is an essential element of the marketing mix and should reflect the position desired by institutions in the marketplace.

It suggests that international students are considering elements such as program structure, quality, graduate outcomes and price before they even consider the city in which they would prefer to study and live. This competitive environment and change in student preferences is creating a need for Australian education providers to better understand the complete spectrum of pricing strategies across all institutions.

The most comprehensive analysis of tuition fees in Australia With the support of the Australian Universities International Directors' Forum (AUIDF), we developed the most comprehensive analysis of international tuition fees in Australia. The report includes a comparative analysis for undergraduate, postgraduate and study abroad programs. International student fees were collected for over 4,500 programs from all 39 Australian university websites and printed materials. The programs were then categorised into fields of study consistent with those used in the ‘Monthly time series of student enrolments’ produced by the Department of Education and Training. This additional level of categorisation was based on the name and structure of each program and the specific faculty that offers the degree. In order to provide a comparative analysis for each institution, we calculated their average annual tuition fee for each study level and field of study. The full report includes an extensive analysis including tables and charts which illustrates the position of each university against competitors in several relevant areas.

WINTER 2015 | 27


Dimity Huckel and Keri Ramirez provide an analysis of international tuition fees in Australia.

Results summary Undergraduate Our analysis included 2,292 undergraduate programs offered at all 39 Australian universities. On average, the annual international tuition fee for an undergraduate program (bachelor degrees only) in 2015 is $26,258 and the median $25,388. The highest average annual fee recorded for undergraduate programs is $37,774 and the lowest was $18,574. The range of options offered by Australian universities from a price perspective is complex. Our analysis reveals there are only two Australian universities with an average annual international tuition fee that is less than $20,000, and 10 with more than $30,000. Postgraduate We reviewed 2,004 postgraduate programs offered at all 39 Australian universities. On average, the international tuition fee for a postgraduate program (masters by coursework) in 2015 is $26,888 and the median $26,505. The highest average value recorded for postgraduate programs was $35,574 and the lowest was $20,280. Similar to the analysis of undergraduate programs, there are a variety of options offered from a price perspective. For these programs, there are 12 Australian universities with an average annual international tuition fee more than $30,000, and none with less than $20,000.

Study Abroad We identified a more compact distribution of price across all universities for study abroad programs. The majority of universities offer programs within a range of $8,000–$10,000; a group of 11 universities offer study abroad for a fee higher than $10,000. On average, the fee for a 1-semester study abroad program (four subjects) in 2015 is $9,584 and the median $9,185. The highest average value recorded was $14,024 and the lowest was $7,350. 28 | VISTA


2,292 Programs

Lowest average $18,574 $$$$$$$$ Median $25,388 $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ Highest average $37,774 $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

POSTGRADUATE TUITION FEES PER ANNUM 39 Universities Lowest average Median Highest average

2,004 Programs $20,280 $$$$$$$$$ $26,505 $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ $35,574 $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$


Lowest average Median Highest average

$7,350 $$$$ $9,185 $$$$$ $14,024 $$$$$$$$$

Results by fields of study The complexity of international pricing strategies also lies within the large portfolio of products that we offer. One university can offer more than 250 different programs with varying structures and target audiences. For that reason, it is essential to extend the analysis and offer a comparative view on the price of programs by fields of study. Based on the name and structure of each program, and the specific faculty offering the degree, we classified each program into the following fields of study: ■■ Agriculture, environmental and related studies ■■ Architecture and building ■■ Creative arts ■■ Education ■■ Engineering and related technologies

■■ Food, hospitality and personal services ■■ Health ■■ Information technology ■■ Management and commerce (excluding MBA) ■■ MBA ■■ Natural and physical sciences ■■ Society and culture. We then developed a comparative analysis for each field of study among all the universities. This was a very interesting exercise as it provided a clear insight into the different fees for each field of study, and also allowed us to analyse how universities change their position in the price spectrum in a specific field of study. The following charts illustrate the average annual international tuition fee by field of study for undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

The new competitive environment is creating a need for more complex marketing and recruitment strategies to successfully attract international students. Pricing might not be as glamorous as promotion, but is an essential element of the marketing mix and should reflect the position desired by institutions in the marketplace. It is important to remember, that for international students, price is also a point of differentiation when looking for their desired program. Like any other industry, price does reflect in the perception the customer has on the value of the product. Therefore, for universities it is essential to assess whether their price is right.

Setting the right price is a complex process in international education. There are marketing and financial elements that should be considered, however, the use of complete data is an essential starting point.


So, is the price right?

Dimity Huckel and Keri Ramirez are the Managing Directors at Studymove Education Consultants. Data source: Huckel, D., Ramirez, K. (2014). Comparative Analysis of International Tuition Fees in Australia, 2014. Sydney, Australia: Studymove.

More information Complete and personalised reports are available for all universities. For more information, please contact Keri Ramirez, Managing Director of Studymove at

Average international tuition fees for undergraduate programs by field of study $32,000 $30,000 $28,000 $26,000 $24,000 $22,000 $20,000

Education $22,955

Creative arts $24,009

Society & culture $24,542

Management & commerce $25,084

Information technology $25,890

Average $26,258

Architecture & building $27,061

Agriculture, environmental & related studies $27,896

Natural & physical sciences $27,949

Engineering & related technologies $28,725

Health 29,739


Average international tuition fees for postgraduate programs by field of study $32,000 $30,000 $28,000 $26,000 $24,000 $22,000 $20,000

Education $23,418

Society & culture $25,558

Creative arts $26,314

Information technology $26,886

Average $26,888

Architecture & building $27,387

Management & commerce $27,820

Natural & physical sciences $28,956

Agriculture, environmental & related studies $29,410

Engineering & related technologies $29,567

Health $30,272


WINTER 2015 | 29



30 | VISTA


With a population of 47.2 million and a GDP of USD 381.8 billion (2013), Colombia is transforming into one of the strongest economies in South America, writes Austrade's Camilo Pena. A growing economy, an emerging middle class and a promising security outlook are positioning Colombia as a leading market for foreign direct investment. Having been focused on domestic matters for many years, Colombia is now projecting itself as open for business and a global partner for cooperation – including trade and investment, security, technology, energy and education. Significantly, the Colombian Government is now in the very advanced stages of a peace process with the country’s largest guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and is now preparing its agencies for a post-conflict phase. Education is seen as key to development in post-conflict Colombia. As a consequence, the Colombian Government recently launched an ambitious national strategy aimed at becoming the most educated country in Latin America by 2025. The strategy focuses on the Colombia Bilingue program and the development of world-class technical and technological education programs. Colombia is Australia’s 12th largest source of international students (Department of Education and Training, December 2014), with 9 per cent growth in enrolments and 3.7 per cent growth in commencements from 2013–2014. Colombia is also Australia’s fifthlargest source market for ELICOS student enrolments (accounting for a 6.7 per cent market share), as well as being the largest source of higher education enrolments from Latin America.

The Colombian education market The largest item in Colombia’s national budget for 2015 is education, with an increase of 5.7 per cent from the previous year’s budget. For the first time in the country’s history, education will outstrip defence funding. Colombia’s Ministry of Education has placed significant emphasis on promoting academic mobility, and universities are attracting international academics and students to Colombia. Although Colombia has traditionally developed alliances with education partners within close geographical proximity, such as the United States or Latin America, Australia has emerged as a choice destination for Colombian students. Education alliances between Australia and Colombia are also evolving beyond student mobility into research and strategic partnerships. While the ELICOS sector has contributed greatly to the expansion of student numbers from Colombia, the demand for pathways, VET and higher education are also rising. Streamlined visa processing (SVP) arrangements have heightened interest among education agents, and this is evident from increased demand for both undergraduate and postgraduate studies.

WINTER 2015 | 31

Opportunities As part of its strategy to be the most educated country in Latin America by 2025, the Colombian Ministry of Education launched Colombia Bilingue 2014–2018 with the ambitious aim of raising very low English levels to 15 per cent at B1 level and 35 per cent at A2 level. To achieve these goals, the government has set clear initiatives aimed improving the quality of English language teaching by offering teacher training, short English courses and internships abroad and bringing native English speakers into classrooms alongside teachers, which offer opportunities for providers.

It is still difficult for Colombian institutions to envisage having strong ties with a distant Australia.


Colombian universities have set the internationalisation of their courses as one of their main priorities. Most top universities teach a significant number of classes in English, but a large number of institutions outside the capital Bogotá do not have English in their curriculum. This creates opportunities for Australian universities to provide professional development and English language programs for Colombian lecturers.


Colombian higher education institutions have raised English proficiency level requirements for students to graduate. However, their language centres do not offer the quality of training for students to reach the required levels. Transnational education in English language training is one possible option that has not yet been explored by Colombian universities or vocational institutions.


The number of Colombian students in International Baccalaureate (IB) schools is on the rise and high school graduates are increasingly looking for undergraduate, Englishspeaking study destinations. Colombian bilingual schools offer students a number of destinations for study abroad programs of varying durations. While Australia is not one of the selected study abroad destinations, it is considered desirable for students who are keen to undertake short courses.

32 | VISTA

11,000 10,000 9,000 8,000 7,000 6,000 5,000 4,000 3,000 2,000 1,000 Higher Education

































■ ■


COLOMBIA COMMENCEMENTS YEAR END 2010–2014 10,000 9,000 8,000 7,000 6,000 5,000 4,000 3,000 2,000 1,000 0

Higher Education


































In Colombia, students who attend vocational education and training (VET) institutions have been regarded as not having the financial means to access university courses and Colombian VET institutions generally aren’t equipped to meet the English language learning needs of these students. If VET institutions are to produce bilingual graduates for employment by the kind of multinational companies Colombia seeks to attract, in-country short courses and study abroad programs in English are essential. For example, the Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje (SENA) – Colombia’s most important VET institute – has signed international agreements that recognise the need to implement high-quality language programs for their students. VET institutions are also known to have strong industry links. For Australian institutions interested in partnering, this could lead to opportunities for the development of short courses with international recognition that cater to company staff in the Government’s priority sectors.

Marketing and recruitment The Colombian market is particularly agent-dependent, with approximately 90 per cent of students processed through this channel. The number of Colombian students continues to increase (Department of Education, End-ofyear Summary 2013) with 6.3 per cent growth compared to 2013.

Further growth points to opportunities in higher education at the undergraduate level and for non-award programs. Australian education providers actively participate in education fairs such as the QS MBA and Graduate Tour, Latino Australia Education, BMI and FPP Edu Media events. Marketing Australian education in Colombia requires a high degree of persistence and face-to-face contact. Australian institutions need to visit their partners and education agents in Colombia on a regular basis to reinforce their commitment to working together and to maintain visibility.

Market challenges Although a significant number of institutions visit regularly for recruitment purposes, in terms of research collaboration, Colombian institutions have tended to develop alliances with countries or regions that are geographically close, such as the United States or Latin America. It is still difficult for Colombian institutions to envisage having strong ties with a distant Australia.

With education being so central to the post-conflict initiatives of President Santos’ administration, a new era is dawning for Australian institutions to partner with Colombian government agencies. Student recruitment will show further growth in areas that have not been the main focus in the past, including potential scholarship schemes. Research collaboration will be the main driver for long-term relationships and the internationalisation efforts by local universities will bring Colombian and Australian institutions closer than ever before. Camilo Pena is Education Manager, Colombia, for the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade).

The national language programs to date have not addressed the English language capabilities of university academics, graduates and those employed by government agencies engaged in education and thus, Colombia is not yet in a position to develop effective joint programs. Many Colombian Government departments have frequent changes of personnel, making regular contact essential to nurture networks and receive information and advice when directions and initiatives change. Finding the right partners in the Colombian education sector can be challenging without fully understanding that public and private education providers in Colombia target very specific students in terms of socioeconomic levels. WINTER 2015 | 33


Student associations work in conjunction with education agents to promote group travel options for school age students. Australian institutions could cultivate relationships with bilingual Colombian schools to increase the number of students coming to Australia and potentially, returning for higher level studies.


34 | VISTA

For much of history, Australia and Indonesia neglected each other. We are the nearest of neighbours, but we've lived in ignorance as if the people next door did not really exist. This curious situation is fading because we are now discovering we are more than neighbours – we are allies, trading partners and we can be friends. Our actions today will determine the nature of our relationship into the future. Australia and Indonesia have had an undercurrent of friendship since Indonesian independence in 1949, yet our relationship has not been without its turbulent times. Many describe our political relationship with Indonesia as a roller coaster ride. Consider the highs of the December 1995 security agreement and the lows of Australia’s involvement in East Timor. Or, more recently, the controversial execution of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. Recently, the relationship has been characterised by growing mutual trade of $14.9 billion in 2011–2012, an increase of 8.3 per cent on the previous year. This is in addition to close links in government, education and defence under the Lombok Treaty. Both nations are members of the G20, APEC and ASEAN regional forums, and the Australia– New Zealand ASEAN Free Trade Agreement. WINTER 2015 | 35


Indonesia is too important to let political differences get in the way of flourishing student exchange and multilayered education partnerships, writes Gordon Scott.

Austrade estimates that some 400 Australian companies now operate in Indonesia. Among them are Australian education providers. Yet despite our proximity to the world’s fourth most populous country, Australia’s performance in supplying international education to Indonesia can be described as meagre at best. Inbound commencements have remained steady at around 9,000 students for years, with enrolments hovering around 17,000 for the same period. This is a market of more than 254 million people. We must ask ourselves why Indonesia remains at 2 per cent of our total international student cohort. I believe the answer is complex and the solution is simple. Firstly, Indonesia is a nation of many cultures. It consists of literally hundreds of ethnically and linguistically diverse groups. It would be wrong to assume that if you are travelling to Jakarta you will be dealing with someone of Javanese origin. This cultural diversity goes to the heart of modern Indonesia, which has a belief in unity. In old Javanese, the national motto ‘Bhinneka Tunggal Ika’ can be translated as 'Unity in Diversity'.

Despite our proximity to the world’s fourth most populous country, Australia’s performance in supplying international education to Indonesia can be described as meagre at best. Although this symbolism exists on one level, it is important to remember that regional pride and individualism absolutely exist right across the country. As a nation, Indonesia is a 20th Century creation. But the history of its ethnic groups goes much deeper with a story that is two millennia long.

36 | VISTA

Australian and Indonesian cultural traits can clash. On one level, Australians can be perceived by Indonesians as direct, even rude, perhaps due to their often familiar nature. Australians can perceive Indonesians as tardy (if not late) for a meeting, yet Indonesians consider time a commodity that they control – not the other way around. There are myriad cultural differences between us – appropriate dress, loss of face, food etiquette – but are any of these so different to those we must consider when doing business in other nations? Of course, the rocky relationship between Canberra and Jakarta can set the pace for many business aspirations. DFAT Smartraveller advice can determine the risk level that some Australian businesses are prepared to take for their travelling staff, rendering Indonesia off limits at times. The list of complexities between us can go on. Pursuing business in Indonesia just sounds too hard for some education providers, yet the real key to cracking the Indonesian market is no different to any other: persistent development of relationships. The University of Queensland (UQ) is a leading example, opening an office in Jakarta in March 2014 to more actively expand its relationships across academic, research, government and corporate organisations. UQ has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Indonesia stretching back over 50 years and continues to build partnerships across articulation programs, student mobility, capacity building, research and industry collaboration. Student enrolments have grown steadily over the past 5 years, as have UQ’s formal research activities with Indonesian institutions. Between 2010–2015, UQ has had 33 active research grants worth approximately $10 million relating to agriculture, mining, health and security in Indonesia.

Recently in partnership with the Indonesia Institute of Sciences (LIPI) and Indonesian universities, UQ scientists have documented the composition and health of Indonesia’s coral reefs for the Catlin Seaview Survey. The project led to Greg Moriarty, the former Australian Ambassador to Indonesia, commending UQ and its Indonesian partners for their ongoing collaboration in an area of common interest to both nations and the region. Indonesia has returned to the economic takeoff that was interrupted by the 1997 financial crisis. This takeoff is reinforced by the rise of Asia and other large emerging markets. Consider the sentiments behind our previous Federal Government’s claim about the ‘Asian Century’. According to the OECD, Indonesia has demonstrated a decade of stable growth, and the connotation of the growth of its urban middle class will not be lost on our industry. Interestingly, the majority of Indonesia’s fastest growing cities are outside Java, indicating the pace of urbanisation that is taking place across the archipelago. Moreover, the current level of political stability and openness in Indonesia is substantially better than the 1990s. Regime change no longer looms on the horizon and, whatever you may think of Jokowi’s performance on the diplomatic stage, there can be no doubt of the significance of the fact that the Presidential election is now behind us.

More education institutions in Australia are deepening their ties with Indonesia, and I believe the time is right to do so. In fact it is overdue. The New Colombo Plan has rightly identified Indonesia as a destination of importance for Australian students to visit. Having a two-way flow of students is necessary when seeking to establish long lasting relationships offshore. For Australian education providers embarking on a voyage of discovery to Indonesia, it is important to remember that we were among the first nations to offer the hand of friendship.


These are all areas which strongly complement Indonesia’s national development agenda for science and technology in agriculture, energy, transportation, information and communications technology, health and pharmaceuticals, and defence.

We must ask ourselves why Indonesia remains at 2 per cent of our total international student cohort. Keep this idea in the back of your mind: it was Australia that took up the cause of Indonesian independence at the United Nations back in 1947. This early gesture of cooperation is not forgotten in Jakarta and has helped open doors for many Australians seeking to do business in Indonesia. Let us enter the market with the mindset of wanting to build long-standing relationships. The country is too important a neighbour for us to allow political differences to get in the way of a much larger level of flourishing student exchange and multilayered education partnerships. Gordon Scott is a management consultant and IEAA Board member.

WINTER 2015 | 37


38 | VISTA

Long ago, so the story goes, young people in Singapore would travel to Rangoon (now Yangon) to study in one of the wealthiest and most advanced cities in South East Asia. The only hints to Yangon’s 50 years of military rule are the cluster of impressive but crumbling British colonial-era buildings encircling the once-thriving port and the lavish temples that boast of earlier Burmese empires. Since the military regime ended, the speedy transition to a democratic rule has been phenomenal, and governments and education providers from around the world are rushing in. There is intense jockeying for position in Yangon between the United States, China, the European Union, Japan, Australia, and Myanmar’s ASEAN neighbours, who are motivated to varying degrees by a range of objectives: to shore up democratisation; to promote sustainable development; and gain early access to lucrative commercial opportunities. Rebuilding the country’s education system is a priority for the Myanmar authorities and foreign governments alike. So what can education providers in Australia and other countries do to help?

Those troublesome institutions The military regime was highly adept at social control but notoriously disinterested in social welfare. Schooling was primarily a means to promote loyalty to the nation and the government, rather than to impart useful knowledge and skills. Higher education fared much worse. Because university students had a habit of protesting against the military regime, the country’s universities were shut down entirely in 1988. Students were told to stay home and teaching staff were put on extended research leave. It marked a period of severe repression of all intellectuals, during which many were imprisoned or forced to flee. After many years, universities were gradually reopened, but only after they had been split into 63 different institutions, most of which had multiple campuses spread across the country. This fragmentation ensured the number of young people on any one campus was not large enough to overwhelm security forces. However, it now makes rebuilding functioning institutions all the more difficult. Most of Myanmar’s universities and colleges are in a sorry state. WINTER 2015 | 39


As political and economic changes resurrect higher education in the country once known as Burma, Australia and other nations have their eyes on this new market, writes Chris Ziguras.


Campus buildings are being repaired but there are few computers and IT infrastructure is almost non-existent. Students complete their secondary education around the age of 16 and are unprepared for advanced study. One legacy of British colonial rule that could prove to be fortunate for the continued expansion of Myanmar’s university sector, is the use of English. While Burmese is normally the oral language of teaching and classroom discussion, handouts and assessment are normally conducted in English. In practice, many students struggle with English comprehension, listening and speaking, and what is assessed is students’ ability to reproduce memorised passages in exam conditions. Given this continued importance of English, demand for quality English language teaching will probably grow very quickly.

Outbound students Given this parlous state of tertiary education, largely resulting from the military’s policies of deliberate neglect and destabilisation, it will take local institutions decades to rebuild. In the meantime, students who can afford to study abroad will do so in ever-larger numbers. This outward mobility is not a new phenomenon. For decades, young people have been streaming out of the country, fleeing a repressive state, civil war and economic decline, and searching for education. Most languished in refugee camps on the border with Thailand or worked in low-skilled jobs across other parts of South East Asia. However, for those fortunate enough to have family money behind them or host-government scholarships, an overseas qualification can be life-changing. UNESCO data shows there were more than 7,254 Burmese students studying abroad in 2012, a steady growth of nearly 15 per cent a year over the previous decade.

40 | VISTA

The leading destination was Russia (1,799 students) – surprising for a South East Asian country – followed by more predictable destination countries, such as Thailand (1,481), Japan (1,139), the US (782) and Australia (641). In addition, there are many thousands of Burmese students abroad in intensive language courses, foundation programs and diploma programs, who are not included in UNESCO’s figures. Another group of Burmese students not accounted for by UNESCO are those studying in Singapore, which is potentially the top destination.

Singapore is one of the few countries in the world that is secretive about where its international students come from, which is a shame given its regional importance. Myanmar is a bigger country than many might think, with a population somewhere between 50 million and 60 million, and its university students abroad represent just 0.2 per cent of the country’s tertiary-age population. That rate of overseas degree study is on par with some large, lowincome countries such as India and Indonesia, but is less than


UNESCO data shows there were more than 7,254 Burmese students studying abroad in 2012, a steady growth of nearly 15 per cent a year over the previous decade.

half the rate of nearby Thailand, Vietnam and China, whose economic development Myanmar hopes to emulate. The 0.2 per cent rate is also much lower than for other former British colonies in South East Asia – notably Malaysia and Singapore. It’s a pretty safe bet that outbound student numbers will continue to grow rapidly as long as the economic recovery persists. Those students will play a key role in rebuilding the country, using what they have learned abroad to help Myanmar make up for lost time.

Myanmar international students in Australia The number of students in Australia from Myanmar tripled between 2006 and 2010, reaching a peak of 1,200. Since then, enrolments in Australian universities have remained fairly flat (around 700), while there has been a decline in vocational education enrolments, which are down by more than half since 2010. Enrolments in foundation programs have been growing at about 30 per cent annually for the last couple of years.

These students’ level of study in Australia reflects Myanmar’s poor state of domestic education provision. Five out of six students from Myanmar in Australia’s universities are in undergraduate or sub-degree programs, with few going on to postgraduate study. The largest proportion are studying business programs, followed by engineering, health, science and information technology – all areas of expertise that are in high demand in Myanmar.

WINTER 2015 | 41


The total number of Myanmar students studying overseas shows every indication of continuing to rise, as continued economic growth, particularly in the urban centres, expands the number of those with the means to study abroad. So why has the number in Australia stalled in recent years? The main reason is the cost of living/tuition, which the lower Australian dollar will help with, slightly. The growth destinations, it seems, are Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia, which are attractive given the lower tuition fees, cost of living and airfares. ASEAN integration will only strengthen the pull of those regional hubs. Foundation programs are now offered by private colleges in Yangon in association with Pearson and Navitas, providing students with simple pathways into linked diploma and degree programs offered by private institutions and transnational providers in those countries.

Transnational education in Myanmar? These conditions – huge demand, limited capacity to quickly increase the domestic supply of quality education and low per-capita incomes – suit the development of transnational programs and campuses in Myanmar more than recruitment to study in Australia.

In many ways, these conditions for international education in Myanmar resemble Malaysia and Singapore in the early 1980s and Vietnam in the early 1990s, before the transnational education booms in those countries. A similar trajectory is likely over the next couple of decades if the political conditions remain stable. So far, no foreign education institution has been brave enough to take the plunge, but many are circling. The main impediment to collaborative provision is that local partners are thin on the ground. Partnerships between Myanmar’s public universities and foreign universities to jointly deliver programs would make good sense and would help build capacity and quality over time, but the country’s universities are struggling with bureaucratic oversight and a limited ability to innovate. A recent promise by the government to increase university autonomy may help, but only time will tell. In the meantime, there are urgent needs for collaboration to develop modern curriculums, strengthen institutional management and build research capacity. The large donor countries are investing by supporting such linkages and, hopefully, there is room in Australia’s dwindling aid budget to do the same.

The main impediment to collaborative provision is that local partners are thin on the ground.

TAFE Directors Australia recently received funding from Austrade’s Asian Business Engagement Plan to support linkages with Myanmar’s government technical institutes. More projects like this are needed to build productive connections that will be important as the country emerges onto the world stage. In Malaysia and Singapore, early transnational education developed through partnerships between foreign universities and local private colleges. However, in Myanmar there are no private universities and the few private colleges that have emerged in recent years to provide English academic preparation and foundation programs are still small. The most likely foreign entrants into the Myanmar education system are private education providers with experience in developing countries, which could fill the void by providing either international foundation, credit transfer and degree programs or vocational programs in high-demand areas such as construction, tourism, information technology and so on. As long as the democratisation and liberalisation processes continue in Myanmar, international educational links have enormous scope to develop, but it will take decades for the country to recover and it is still early days. For example, the lifting of trade embargoes has allowed Visa and MasterCard in, so you can at last pay your hotel bill with plastic. But you still can’t easily transfer funds across the border or use a foreign phone. So the growing numbers of educators and students moving in and out will need to carry wallets full of greenbacks and pockets full of SIM cards for a while longer. Associate Professor Chris Ziguras is Vice-President of IEAA and Deputy Dean, International at RMIT’s School of Global, Urban and Social Studies.

42 | VISTA

Funding research on language assessment

Each year, IDP: IELTS Australia along with British Council and Cambridge English Language Assessment, offers total grant funding of up to AUD$215,000 (£130,000) with up to AUD$70,000/£45,000 available per project for IELTS-related research projects. Educational institutions and suitably qualified individuals are invited to apply for funding to undertake applied research projects for a period of one or two years. Areas of interest include: • Test development and validation issues • Issues relating to contexts of test use • Issues of test impact Deadline for applications: 30 June each year Application forms and guidelines:

All IELTS Research Reports are available free online at





Engage your students like never before. At BPO, we don’t just help you engage with prospective and former students, we do it in ways you’ve never seen before. It’s a whole new world of print and digital communications for every stage of the student lifecycle from acquisition to postgraduation. See the new world at

181 Forster Road Mount Waverley VIC 3149, Australia

Phone 03 8514 3715

WINTER 2015 | 43

IEAA’s International Education Research Network (IERN) seeks to engage with the international education research community at home and abroad, writes Douglas Proctor.

Not only is Australia a global leader in international education, but it punches above its weight in the production of international education research.


Indeed, scholarly and practitionerbased research has become a feature of the Australian landscape. It informs and guides government strategy and institutional planning, features in multiple sessions at the annual Australian International Education Conference (AIEC) and gives rise to world-leading research references such as the IDP Database of Research on International Education (IDPDRIE) – a much envied Australian contribution to the global field of international education research. Building on this rich environment, and in response to calls from its members, IEAA launched its International Education Research Network (IERN) in October 2011.

Designed to be a one-stop portal for the international education research community in Australia and overseas, IERN seeks to: ■■ inform the international education research agenda ■■ provide a platform to connect researchers with policy-makers, and ■■ promote collaboration and provide ready access to key resources and publications. Now in its fourth year, IERN has made significant inroads in its mission to promote international education research. IERN facilitates an annual researchers’ seminar and a research roundtable in Australia, as well as a joint IEAA-APAIE symposium held in Hong Kong in June 2014.

The IERN website has also been refreshed and now provides more ready access to key research resources on international education. Information has been re-structured under the following headings and we continue to make modifications to the site in response to feedback: ■■ Accessing research ■■ Finding researchers ■■ Research events ■■ Global connections.

Under the banner of IERN, IEAA launched a series of Research Digests in 2014, which present the findings of leading edge research topics. In addition, engagement with IERN’s communication platforms continues to grow – via Twitter, LinkedIn and a growing email list.

Having consulted with sister organisations around the world, we are also building links with the research arms and activities of other international education associations. Conversations have begun with fellow members of the Association of Studies in International Education, the governing body of the Journal of Studies in International Education, as well as with other associations such as the Brazilian Association for International Education (FAUBAI).

Recent developments

Get involved

Based on data drawn from the IDP Database, we published a ‘What’s Hot in International Education Research?’ report and infographic earlier this year. This comprehensive analysis of research published between 2011 and 2013 looks at recent trends and provides an insight into the state of international education research over the last three years. What research is being undertaken and where? What is the focus of the research and how has it been published? What are the most common research methods? This ‘Hot Topics’ report has been very well received by the IERN community, and continues to generate significant interest in Australia and overseas.

IERN members are currently drawn from a range of education sectors and disciplines in Australia and abroad, as well as government, business and industry bodies. We are actively seeking to grow the IERN community and are particularly interested to reach out to the international education research community in the AsiaPacific region. So, if you have an interest in international education research – as a producer or consumer, funder or general advocate – see right to find out how you can get involved.


you know of some interesting research? Why not post it on LinkedIn for others to see

■■ Do

you think there’s a gap in the research? Seek feedback from the IERN community via Twitter and LinkedIn

■■ Suggestions

for better ways in which IERN can meet your needs? Please let us know

CONNECT ■■ Follow

IERN on Twitter

■■ Join

the IERN LinkedIn group

■■ Sign

up to the IERN email list

■■ Let

your colleagues know about IERN and ask them to join up (it’s free!)

■■ Promote

IERN to your research partners and institutions abroad and encourage them to join


to find someone with a particular research interest? Post a message to LinkedIn

■■ Keen

to know which research is of most use to other institutions? Ask the IERN community for feedback

■■ Looking

for pointers for a prospective research project (Masters or PhD)? Gauge interest from the IERN community online.

Douglas Proctor is a member of the IEAA Research Committee and a PhD candidate in the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne. WINTER 2015 | 45



SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP FORUM Tuesday 25 August Melbourne

IEAA’s inaugural Pathways SIG Forum will provide a national platform to explore the latest trends and developments affecting the sector. Key themes ■■The critical role of ELICOS ■■Managing articulation agreements ■■Integrating international and domestic students Speakers include ■■Luella Billing, TAFENSW ■■Tony Cranshaw, La Trobe College ■■Dr Rod Gillett, Educo Global ■■Paul Sutton, UNSW Global 46 | VISTA

International Education Association of South Africa (IEASA) 19–21 August Port Elizabeth, South Africa Australian Council for Private Education & Training (ACPET) 26–28 August Melbourne, Australia

September TAFE Directors Australia 9–11 September Hobart, Australia European Association for International Education (EAIE) 15–18 September Glasgow, Scotland English Australia 23–25 September Brisbane, Australia

October Australian International Education Conference (AIEC) 6–9 October Adelaide, Australia International Association of Universities (IAU) 28–30 October Siena, Italy

November Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) 22–25 November Niagara Falls, Canada QS APPLE 25–27 November Melbourne, Australia

December ISANA International Education Conference 1–4 December Melbourne, Australia

WINTER 2015 | 47



Contact us IEAA Secretariat PO Box 12917 A’Beckett Street Melbourne VIC 8006 Australia +613 9925 4579

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.