Jeremy Puah Jun Peng
How Australian International Higher Education Could Be Influenced by UK's Reintroduction of Post Graduate Working Visa
The British government might reintroduce its Post Graduate Working (PGW) visa for international students in the near future. The research argues that those who come to Australia to obtain a better education and professional experiences would shift to the UK for better-ranked universities, more selection of programs and shorter length of course. An appropriate number of students who aim to migrate would stick to Australia given the current immigration policy unchanged. However, the insights suggest future outcomes could be very different if the Australian government were to restrict international student pathways to permanent residency.
Given the multicultural nature of Australia’s workforce, tertiary students must develop skills of global competency, vital for work in a diverse labour market. This paper defines global competency and breaks it into the core components of knowledge, skill and attitude that can be individually addressed by universities. Australian universities, utilising their uniquely diverse student make up, should be better promoting each element of the competency through educational and other programs. This paper will provide recommendations to Australian tertiary institutions, highlighting ways in which diverse student bodies can be better engaged to promote the learning of global competency.
Despite the large cohort of international students attending Australian universities, Australia has failed to develop engagement between domestic and international students, and as a result, students are missing the chance to benefit from a uniquely global tertiary student environment. Australian students are not being encouraged to build cross-cultural relationships, while universities are also risking dissatisfaction among international students as international students remain largely isolated in their relationships with their domestic cohort. A basic failure to consider the relationships between domestic and international students risks undermining the growth of our tertiary sector and our franchise as a provider of world class tertiary education.
The report ‘Languages in Crisis’ laments that ‘Australia’s school students spend the least time on second languages of students in all OECD countries’ (The Group of Eight, 2007). To date, the rhetoric surrounding this trend towards monolingualism in a self-proclaimed multicultural country has consisted of impassioned cries that ‘something must be done’ followed by little or ineffective action. The alternate response is the complacent, but pervasive platitude that ‘English is enough’, being inarguably the world’s current lingua franca (Seidlhofer, 2012). It is this ‘monolingual mindset’ that is fuelling the growing attrition of Australia’s bilingual skills (Clyne, 2005).
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself”
George Bernard Shaw Maxims for Revolutionists (1903)
The Oxford English Dictionary defines culture as “the customs, ideas, and social behaviour of a particular group of people”. Culture itself however is hard to define. Its meaning is unique for each circumstance and person. Indeed Western civilisation has often struggled to define a common culture. The western interpretation of history for example, being divided into ancient, medieval and modern periods does not describe the past of Asian, African and Islamic civilisations. (Bentley, 1996). One’s analysis of culture becomes even more complex when we look at the intersection of cultures. As globalisation shapes the world, diverse nations face the mixing of cultures, identities and traditions. One must shift their focus from a single culture to multiple cultures and their intersection. Ideas such as acculturation become more relevant. We are commonly seeing cultural features of various groups being exchanged altering both cultures but keeping each group distinct. (Johnson, 2011) We are living in a time of increasing human movement and migration. As state walls become porous under the change of globalisation, many states are seeing growing numbers of minority and ethnic cultures. Much of this cultural interaction and diversification has occurred during a period of peace and relative prosperity – yet to be tested in more adverse circumstances.
Australia is one of the world most diverse countries in the world. It has a rich multicultural history and as a population numerous cultures and ethnic heritages. Australia is continuing to evolve and develop as a multicultural nation now drawing immigrants from across the world. This article seeks to give a snapshot of some of the key developments Australia’s multicultural history and their significance to Australia.