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Information Sharing by Austrade & AEI

On 29 August 2011, Management Committee Members representing AAS and 15 different Australian Universities Alumni Associations attended an Austrade/AEI Information Sharing Session held at SMa IHL premises. A buffet dinner preceded the event.

A publication, “Reform of the Australian Trade Commission: Maximising our Value, May 2011” documented the review which commenced in July 2010. It was timely that Alumni Leaders were kept updated on the current roles of the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) and Australian Education International (AEI)which is the international arm of the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

Austrade’s Senior Education ManagerASEAN, Janice Aw shared that since 1 July 2010,Austrade had assumed responsibility for international marketing and promotion of Australian education and training. Australian education has been repositioned and rebranded with a new logo ‘Future Unlimited’. She also touched on the 3 strategic objectives and 5 key priorities as documented in the “Framework for International Marketing and Promotion of Australian Education and Training 2011-2012” publication (www.austrade.gov.au/education).

In its effort to effectively engage with stakeholders (key government & non-government organisations, alumni chapters and both onshore & off shore institutions), possible areas cited for potential collaboration with alumni bodies include internship opportunities for returning or graduating Singaporean students; facilitation of R&D collaborations in trade, investment & education; and facilitation of foreign direct investments in student accommodation to meet market  demand in the Australian education sector.

In his presentation on the role of AEI, Mr Stephen Li, Director(Education)enlightened participants on the review of the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000 and International Students Strategy of Australia (ISSA) released in October 2010. The ESOS Framework protects Australia’s reputation for delivering quality education services and the interests of overseas students by setting out standards, roles and responsibilities for educational institutions that teach overseas students as well as providing tuition and financial insurance for overseas students. The ISSA outlines 12 initiatives to address 4 key areas of concern including international students’ wellbeing, quality of international education, consumer protection and the availability of better information for international students.

The Transnational Quality Strategy framework (TQS)which aims to protect and promote the quality of Australian education overseas, has led to the establishment of the AusLIST, an online directory of Australian education and training providers in other countries. In addition to the regulatory and resource provision roles, AEI administers the Endeavour Awards which is the Australian Government’s internationally competitive, merit-based scholarship programme providing opportunities for the citizens of the Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Europe and Americas to undertake study, research and professional development in Australia.

AAS President Loh Hoon Sun thanked Ms Aw and Mr Li for the updates and opened the floor for discussion and contributions on how the alumni bodies and Austrade can work together to achieve mutually beneficial results, yet meeting individual goals and objectives. Mr Michael Yap, Chair of AAS Business Committee, who initiated this session, welcomed the opportunity to strengthen collaboration with Austrade and shared some forth-coming programmes. Among the active participants were QUT’s Mr Jason Chong, Murdoch University’s Mr Henry Goh, and Adelaide University’s Mr Louis Lim who contributed constructive suggestions and ideas.

By Peggy Tan, Chairman, Activities Committee

Photos courtesy of Ms Christina Tan, Treasurer

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