Webinar #9: The future of partnerships in international education

In the ninth Insider Guides industry webinar, James Martin and Rob Lawrence spoke to Steve Berridge, Senior Vice-President, Future Students & International at Victoria University, to delve into the future of partnerships in international education.

The webinar aimed to consider the ever-changing nature of the world; how international education partnerships will play a role in the near future; where the disruption comes from; how consumption habits affect transnational education and how partnerships can be sustained through COVID-19 and beyond, all under the #PositiveOptimism scope that these webinars proffer.

In discussing the overarching trend of partnerships, onshore and offshore, Steve shares the following:

“In the short term, it is about business continuity and looking after students and partners. This domestic agenda will dominate this year. In the longer term, there are a couple of things to consider – demand at a macro level should remain strong, digital disruption will happen, which presents both opportunities and risks. However, the competitor space will become much more intense from long term players and new entrants, including corporates and tech giants. We have to focus on our core competence and our reason for being, and navigate the tension to provide a consistent offer. All institutions need to focus on the purpose of our international engagement, both as individuals and as a sector.”

“By partnering, you access a lot of things. One of the things you access is an ability to reach a local market. It then becomes a question more than anything about how adaptable your partner is… If you get the right partnership, you can get yourself positioned for that potential opportunity.”

Topics discussed include:

  • The impact of recent events on offshore partners and how they are addressing these challenges
  • Affordability, studying abroad and the role of partnerships
  • TAFE institutions elevating profiles through partnerships
  • Retail vs. wholesale reliance
  • Current events and the impact on international partners
  • How can institutions help schools navigate out of this crisis?
  • How can institutions support English language provision?
  • Rebuilding connections with future students
  • The change in buyer behaviours, with reference to students engaged in partnerships, TNE and mobility programmes 
  • The composition and size of partners as student cohorts evolve
  • Potential tuition fee decrease
  • The overarching trend of partnerships in the future

Webinar attendees were invited to participate in a poll regarding this week’s topics. It was found that 43% of respondents believed that TNE partnerships will be impacted the most by more students studying for longer back home, followed by 24% suggesting that significant growth in offshore delivery demand will have an impact.

Meanwhile, there was a split response as to whether students will come to Australia if they know that up to 50% of their course will be delivered online due to social distancing measures and continuing on campus restrictions, with 39% of respondents voting that students probably won’t come to Australia, with while 34% said that it was still somewhat likely.

The poll questions were as follows:

  1. How do you believe TNE partnerships will be impacted next year?
  2. Over the next few years which country / region will see the greatest decline in the number of Australian students on mobility programmes?
  3. Do you think the recommendation by the Chinese Ministry of Education to ‘be cautious about choosing to go to Australia’ will dramatically lower the numbers of Chinese students coming to Australia over the next 12 months?
  4. Do you think students will still come to Australia if they know that up to 50% of their course will be online due to social distancing measures/on campus restrictions?


Webinar resources:

IDP Connect survey results