Submission: Inquiry into tourism and international education

15 December 2022

ISA's response to the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade’s Inquiry into Australia’s tourism and international education sectors.

This submission provides an overview of the impact of COVID-19 and the subsequent closure of Australia’s borders on international education in non-government schools and the potential contribution of the sector to Australia’s economic recovery.
ISA consulted with the state and territory Associations of Independent Schools (AISs) and the National Catholic Education Commission in preparing this submission on behalf of the non-government school sector.

Key points

  • COVID-19 has had a huge impact on all aspects of schooling, including the non-government school sector’s international education activity, and the toll on student health and wellbeing has been significant. The pandemic has had an impact on students, staff, and the provision of international programs.
  • Online innovations are guided by the school sector’s preference for face-to-face learning. Schools embed language acquisition and Australian cultural experience in the school curriculum and the physical attendance of students.
  •  It is vital that regulatory frameworks continue to be flexible to enable ongoing innovation in the delivery of education across a range of modes of study.
  • Improving the speed and ease of the visa system has been noted by the sector as key in making Australia more globally competitive.
  • There is an opportunity for improved pathways including collaboration with higher education providers, and employability skills development.
  • Australia’s brand should be the focus of ongoing marketing to promote Australia as a destination of choice for international students.