Education is becoming increasingly international. Flows of international students continue to increase, and there is sustained growth in the number and type of institutions that offer some form of internationalised education. Australia is at the forefront of international education, with a thriving higher education sector, a diverse vocational education sector, and school systems and individual schools that are active in student exchanges and a range of partnership models. The quality of Australian education is highly regarded, and education is now our third largest national export.
While education exports are substantial, the majority of exports in this area result from higher education. Export of school education products are orders of magnitude smaller – in the tens of millions of dollars annually, compared to over $20 billion generated by higher education providers in 2017, and $521 million generated in offshore education services.
Exports of school education products are at odds with the recognition Australian education receives. Australian education is seen as one of the best in the world – of six countries considered in detail in this report, Australia consistently ranks in the top three for quality and reputation. But of the approximately 9,500 schools currently offering English-medium education in non-English speaking countries, less than one hundred partner with an Australian school agency. With the number of English-medium schools expect to double in the next decade, and global revenues expected to approach $100 billion by 2028, there is substantial opportunity for Australian export growth.
This report explores a set of six priority markets that could provide opportunity for increasing exports of school curriculum, assessment and regulatory products. It reflects the culmination of a project led by the NSW Education Standards Authority and conducted by Nous Group, commissioned through an Enabling Growth and Innovation grant from the Australian Government Department of Education and Training.
The markets considered were selected from a global scan of countries and markets that present the greatest potential for export growth. Each of the countries included are in Asia, which broadly reflects the growing middle classes and wealth in these countries, increasing demand for quality education, and the strength of regional relationships.
There may be substantial opportunity in China, focused on Tier 2 cities and with the emergence of networks of bilingual schools. Vietnam, where Australia is widely seen as the preferred provider of international education products, presents substantial opportunity in major cities, and to assist in reforms currently in train. Similarly, both Malaysia and the Philippines may provide opportunity through reform programs underway by government, and in growing international school sectors. India and Indonesia both present opportunity over the medium to long term.