This community and industry consultation report has been prepared by IEAA, as deliverable six in the project Data Stocktake and Data Gaps Analysis (2017/08a) under the Australian International Education: Enabling Growth and Innovation programme. This project sought to gain a provider perspective of the current state of play in international education data.
IEAA undertook a consultation process with the international education sector between October 2017 and April 2018, engaging with almost 200 stakeholders. This included a widely distributed online survey, as well as face-to-face focus groups where providers were asked to share their experiences with using existing data sets, views on opportunities for improvement and where they see critical gaps that would benefit from a coordinated approach.
- During the consultation process, stakeholders were given the opportunity to provide feedback on eight broad areas of data that measure and evaluate the international education ecosystem. The most commonly cited requests throughout the consultation process concerned:
- Reducing time lags, improving accessibility of existing data sources, especially enrolments/commencements and visa data
- More publicly available data – at more granular levels of detail. For example, more detailed geographical information on particular provinces and states in China, India etc.
- Meaningful benchmarking and standardised performance metrics of existing data. In particular, mobility and student experience to help providers set actionable goals
- Better communicating data on the benefits of international education to the economy, in order to mitigate potential ‘bad press’ messages around risks and threats
- Improved student outcomes data – longitudinal data, particularly for job outcomes, noting difficulties in capturing and tracking
- Regular and publicly available student mobility data (particularly outbound), including by mode of study
Overall, the research found that Australian international education data is well regarded within the sector, and generally considered excellent by world standards. However, there are a number of areas of frustration for data users, where even small changes could have a significant impact.