Education

Australia’s first borderless education deal with Peru

The Australian Institute of Management (AIM) has joined with Euroidiomas, a Peruvian education provider, to deliver an online MBA program to Peruvian students. This is the first Australia-LATAM deal involving borderless (online) education. Euroidiomas has eight English language institutes and is a major provider of English training to young people and the corporate sector in Peru. It also operates a bilingual high school and offers a number of vocational programs. Until its relationship with AIM, Euroidiomas had no international partners. Austrade facilitated the introduction between AIM and Euroidiomas to help forge the partnership.

Three people smiling

Council on Australia Latin America Relations

There is an appetite in countries across Latin America to build engagement with Asia-Pacific countries, as they look beyond traditional partners and seek to diversify their economic relationships. The COALAR board looks forward to working collaboratively with the Council for International Education members to develop a strategic approach to building education, research and training cooperation with Latin America. The diverse knowledge of Latin America provided by COALAR board members, including the activities by Australian businesses in the region and the skills needs they require, will assist to identify priorities for enhancing higher education, research, VET, schools and ELICOS cooperation.

Opportunities abound for international education in Latin America

The Hon Phil Honeywood, Expert Member, Council for International Education

As Australia’s third largest export, contributing $28 billion annually to the national economy, a diverse and sustainable international education sector is of vital importance to Australia. Latin America offers significant opportunities for new partnerships and innovative education delivery across all sectors. The time is right to look across the Pacific and build on what has already been achieved in the region.

When thinking about international students in Australia, many people immediately picture China and India. Indeed, according to the latest data from November 2017, 41 per cent of Australia’s 620,000 international student cohort was made up of students from those two countries. However, fewer people think of Brazil, which is now Australia’s fifth largest source of international students, due largely to English language and vocational education and training enrolments. Colombia has also seen significant growth, making it the eleventh largest source country.

Of course, international education cooperation is much more than onshore student enrolments. It spans all forms of engagement (including two-way mobility, partnerships, transnational delivery) and all levels of the education system, including schools, English language, vocational education and training, higher education and research. The sector provides important opportunities for cooperation to mutual benefit as countries seek to upskill their populations and transition to knowledge economies.

Right now, many Latin American countries are prioritising education as the key to economic growth and social inclusion and looking for new ways to collaborate internationally. Argentina, for example, is looking to build links with the global community and has elevated education as a priority theme for its G20 presidency this year. Brazil has announced PrInt, a new program to internationalise its universities, and Colombia has launched Colombia Cientifica to enhance its scientific research capacity. The Australian education sector should search for ways to capitalise on this shift.

Traditionally, Australia’s relationships with these diverse countries have not been as well developed as those with partners in our region. This is changing. For example, according to Universities Australia, formal agreements between Australian and Latin American universities have more than doubled since 2007, reaching 416 in 2016. Yet, in order to continue growing institutional partnerships and two-way mobility, more needs to be done as Australia competes with better known partners such as the United States and the United Kingdom. Building mutual understanding and fostering greater people-to-people links will be crucial.

The Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships and Endeavour Mobility Grants programs are an important way of doing this. They provide funding for Australians to undertake study, research or professional development abroad and for overseas students to do the same in Australia. In 2018, 72 Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships, including 10 VET scholarships, have been granted to Latin American and Caribbean recipients. Additionally, 132 mobility grants have been offered to Australian universities for students to travel to the region.

The placement by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training of a second dedicated Education Counsellor to the region in Mexico City will help to raise awareness of Australia as a partner of choice for education, research and training. As Australia strengthens engagement with Latin America through free trade agreements with Peru and the Pacific Alliance trade bloc, Australian businesses and education providers will see increased opportunities emerge, particularly in borderless education.

Australia’s National Strategy for International Education 2025 has a strong focus on identifying new opportunities for growth in the sector. In my role as convenor of the expert members of the Council for International Education, I am working with my fellow expert members, the Council on Australia Latin American Relations (COALAR), the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Austrade and the Department of Education and Training in 2018 to develop a strategy to leverage engagement with the region and inform future decision making. The time is right for Australia to look east, as well as north, in order to further strengthen and diversify our vibrant international education sector.

Last Updated: 3 April 2018