Abstract: The Gulf States have identified educational sponsorship as one of the most powerful means of building a better qualified national work force, with a view to redressing the overrepresentation of expatriates in the private sector. Over the past five to seven years, this has created an opportunity for Australian education providers to enrol Gulf Nationals who have been identified as the elite of their high school graduating cohort and sponsored to obtain specialist qualifications overseas.
In general, it has been observed that the students’ academic performance has met neither the institution’s nor the sponsor’s expectations, nor indeed the students’ or their families’. The accepted explanations for the students’ difficulties include: outmoded pedagogical practice in their home countries; the challenges of learning in English; gaps between assumed knowledge and actual high school curriculum; and religious/cultural difference. However, these do not satisfactorily explain why these students’ experience of Australian education differs sodramatically from that of other international students. This study in progress questions some of the assumptions held about Gulf Sponsored students, working on the premise that more productive support mechanisms may be employed once the students’ expectations are better understood.
Key words: Sponsored students, nationalisation policies, pathway programs, Gulf sponsored students, academic performance, academic expectations, adjustment
Abstract: This presentation bases on a PHD research project, which is a detailed case study with the focus on exploring the academic adaptation experiences of a group of Chinese coursework postgraduate students studying in a faculty which is a popular choice of international students at one Australian university.
In twenty years, international education has become Australia’s fourth-highest export earner and the second largest service export industry (Australian Trade Commission, 2006). International students not only bring substantial revenue to Australian universities, but also bring challenges to their overseas study and their host universities. International students from the People’s Republic of China play a significant role in this market with a 25% share of the market (Australian Government Australian Education International, 2006). For Chinese students and their families, coming to study in Australia is possibly the most significant academic investment in the students’ life. Thus, there is high expectation for successful academic achievement.
Due to different educational background and culture, Chinese students have a different perception of their academic role and tasks than do Australian staff and students. Therefore, there is a very important and urgent problem: adjustment to the new educational environment. It is very clear that Chinese students have encountered challenges in their adjustment to studying in Australian universities, which have a great impact on the success of their academic achievement in Australia. The purpose of the presentation is: What can Australian universities and lecturers, as well as Chinese students themselves, do to smooth the adjustment experience?
The presentation includes three parts: 1. general background and relevant literature review of the project; 2. some results from the interviews with the lecturers, academic study support staff and Chinese students in the project, results on their understanding of the academic adaptation process; 3. discussions and suggestions for what can be done to improve the academic adaptation process.
Key Words: international students, Chinese coursework postgraduate students, academic adaptation
Prof Ross Lehman
Introduction: The paper explains the inception and continuing development of an Academic Professional Development Seminar series for the teaching staff at what appears to be the institution, in Australia with the largest number of international students. There is an explanation about the business venture followed by information about the initiation and on-going provision of the program. A brief report is included which indicates a summary of the participants’ recommendations, about teaching and learning, from the 2006 Seminars, to date. Further, a list of suggested topics for future seminars, is provided.
Key words: professional development, teaching and learning, academic staff
Waliul Islam, Helen Borland
Abstract: A look at the recent statistics will show that large numbers of students from South Asia
are now undertaking postgraduate studies in Australian universities. This paper, drawn from data collected for a broader study about South Asian postgraduate coursework students’ initial understandings, expectations of Australian postgraduate studies and their gradual adaptation experiences, will limit itself to analyzing a few themes that emerge in their initial expectations and experiences.
More specifically the paper aims at providing an overview of the students’ diverse experiences as
international students in Australia, exploring some of their initial expectations as postgraduate students, exploring some of their initial academic experiences of lectures, class participation.
Key words: South Asian students, international students, academic expectations, adjustment experiences, Postgraduate coursework students, class participation, cultural difference.
Dr Mona Chung, Martin Kelliher, Dr Wendy Smith
Abstract: The higher education environment in Australia has undergone a radical change since the
1980s with the phenomenal increase in the intake of international students, particularly from what are referred to as Confucian Heritage Cultures (CHC): China, Korea, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore. Students from these countries view the Australian higher education system very favourably. The present increase in the proportion of full-fee paying students at Australian universities is also a result of decreasing government funding to the Australian higher education sector, which has now risen to be one of the most important elements of the Australian economy.
These push-pull factors have drawn more Australian tertiary institution providers into the market place, as they seek more international student enrolments for their domestic campuses and also establish campuses overseas. Potential higher education students are becoming more discerning in their choices and are choosing learning environments that offers them both relevant and stimulating educational experiences and good qualifications, along with a range of both IT and academic support services that cater to their individual learning needs. Increasing competition, both within Australia and internationally, calls for a focus on student satisfaction in order to sustain the existence of the providers.
This paper addresses the issue of what international students seek in terms of academic support and demonstrates that present levels of cost efficient services by Australian higher education providers, generally characterized by IT and language support services, are inadequate and do not meet the specific needs of the students.
Keywords; Educational support; International students; Higher Education