Australia’s private sector being spared in latest measures comes as “shock”

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Tim Eckenfels, head of IH Sydney Training Services, spoke with The PIE at the IH Directors conference, and said the fact the draft framework is being directed more at public universities is about the “most foolish thing the government can do” from its own cost perspective.

“It’s been all the middle tier and lower tier – about 30 of them – public universities that have been the most heavily impacted.

“Brilliant. Who’s going to pick up that price tag? The government – this one is just shocking to me,” Eckenfels said.

International House Sydney Training Services school offers both English language and VET offerings for international students – and is a private school.

“From the private sector, we really are saying, “well for once it’s not us having to really go out to battle – the universities are doing it for us,” said Eckenfels.

The introduction of a maximum number of international students, linked to how much purpose built student accommodation universities commit to developing, was brought in as part of the Draft International Education and Skills Strategic Framework.

“I think right now, everyone’s view is to take this day by day. We’ve got this very active government and we’re seeing what we’re referring to as knee-jerk reactions – they’ve watched what’s been done in the UK, in Canada, and some of these same ideas are popping up,” he explained.

“It appears the government is not getting the support they need to pass this through, at least through the Senate – but the great thing is the peak bodies in Australia, IEAA, English Australia, ITECA… they are all communicating and working together.”

Eckenfels praised Phil Honeywood, the chief executive of IEAA, for his lobbying of the government and work with ministers to try and make things better for the sector, including both VET and language schools.

“He has been the best spokesperson to the government so far… he is collectively gathering information and ideas from all the stakeholers, which is ideal.

“So at this point, what we keep saying is it’s business as usual and not to react; we don’t know what tomorrow will be, but I don’t think they’re going to get away with any more of these surprise announcements,” he added, also noting the government might have to backtrack and could end up looking “really foolish”.

What we keep saying is it’s business as usual and not to react; we don’t know what tomorrow will be

Tim Eckenfels, IH Sydney Training Services

This seems to already have occurred as the age limit for those who stay in the country post-PhD degrees, which previously had to be under 35 to be eligible for a graduate visa, will now again have to be under age 50 as before the changes made in the Migration Strategy.

Eckenfels said that the post-Covid boom was always going to happen after the border closures – but that going after international students wasn’t the right move by the government.

“When the gates opened, they went into record numbers – and we are still seeing very strong applications and enrolments at IH Sydney Training Services,” he added.

The post Australia’s private sector being spared in latest measures comes as “shock” appeared first on The PIE News.

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