Education Talking Points 06-04-2016


Australian education and tourism exports nearly match iron ore figures
With Australia’s longstanding reputation as a major commodity-exporting nation, it’s no surprise that the value of Australian education and tourism exports remains relatively under the radar. In recent years however, it’s been Australia’s natural environment, highly regarded education system and low currency that has attracted students and tourists alike. Kirk Zammit and Justin Fabo, both members of ANZ’s economic team stated that last year the combined value of these two sectors almost matched exports of iron ore,  and accounted for 60 percent of Australia’s total services exports. Despite this, the strengthening of the dollar has the potential to raise risk of a service export slowdown. Click here for the full article.


Beijingers on Chinese students overseas
With outbound students from China heading overseas every year, the numbers are increasing and the sector is growing, but what do people on the ground have to say about it? China Real Time Report did a qualitative study asking Beijingers what their personal experiences were of studying abroad. The younger participants noted the generational tendency of parents to put Western nations on a pedestal, and remarked on study agents’ ability to capitalise on this and ‘hoodwink students’. Older participants who reflected on their time overseas noted the comparative expense nowadays and the rise as a result of China leading the world economically. Most notably, there was a consensus on a need for increased focus on social engagement whilst abroad, programs that did this were considered as remarkably more valuable than those that imitated Chinese study-centric conditions. At the end of the day, this change will come socially and not necessarily from the programs themselves. Click here for the full article.


Workers’ University equips migrants with skills, confidence amid economic slowdown
As China’s economy transitions from a manufacturing based economy to a service based economy, the demand for unskilled workers is declining. This proves a difficult situation for the young unskilled migrant workers with no experience outside of traditional migrant labour. Beijing Workers’ University is one of many new universities equipped with volunteer teachers that help the workers learn the new skills necessary to obtain other forms of employment. One aspect that is often overlooked is the emotional affect that this downturn has upon the workers. This is why universities such as Beijing Worker’s University aim to educate the workers about their value in today’s society. The social courses, in conjunction with practical courses, help inspire the workers to gain a better understanding of themselves, which in turn helps the workers reflect and plan a future in a field other than construction. These classes also help provide a cultural and social support system, where the workers can get direction and guidance regarding their futures. Sun Heng, the school’s founder, explains the need for such universities and courses, stating the potential for a ‘terrible social crisis’, if the 300 million workers in China remain unclear about their futures, unable to obtain jobs, and without social support. Click here for the full article.


Chinese ‘parachute kids’ flock to US schools
‘Parachute Kids’ is a term used to describe a child who is sent to another country to live alone or under the care of a caregiver. The term ‘parachute’ is used to describe the “dropping off” of the children whilst the parents remain abroad. This phenomenon is currently increasing as both parents and students endeavor to obtain the competitive edge associated with Western Education. Facilitating the placement of Chinese students into US schools is a booming industry with estimations reaching $25 billion. The children and their families also provide valuable investment, helping bring money into local communities and local school districts. However, this phenomenon has incited debate within China, with some arguing that the children should not be sent to a foreign country with no parental supervision, stating that the children are not yet equipped with the necessary skills needed to look after themselves, or how to deal with the foreign environment. Click here for the full article.