Australia announces new international student strategy

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Canberra, July 2 (ANI): Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced today said that the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) had agreed to adopt a number of additional measures to enhance the well-being and safety of international students.

The Council welcomed the range of additional initiatives to improve student safety including the recent high profile, visible police crackdown on crime around metropolitan transport hubs and heightened community engagement by police. They agreed such initiatives should be maintained.

The Council agreed to develop a comprehensive national International Student Strategy to improve international student pre and post arrival information, enhance interaction between international students and the broader Australian community, adopt measures to promote cultural understanding and tolerance, and consider the quality of education providers.

The Council underlined the importance of extending Australian hospitality to international students and agreed to support greater levels of interaction between international students and local communities.

To this end, the Prime Minister, announced AUD 50,000 dollars for the Darebin City Council, in the north of Melbourne, to engage international students within the community of Darebin through social and sporting events.

This would be used as model for further such initiatives. The Prime Minister called on all governments, education and training providers and student unions, as part of a national International Student Strategy, to support greater levels of interaction between international students and local communities.

The Prime Minister also announced that an International Student Roundtable will be held in Canberra on September 14 and 15, 2009. International students will be able to discuss directly issues affecting their study experience - such as accommodation, welfare and safety - and propose ideas for their resolution at the International Student Roundtable. These ideas will then be considered by Ministers at the inaugural Ministerial Council on Tertiary Education in November 2009.

The Council strongly supported the Australian delegation to India that will meet with key government officials in Delhi on 6 July 2009 and then travel to major Indian cities to meet with state governments and others to hear their concerns and reassure them that Australia remains a safe destination for Indian students.

Together these announcements demonstrate the resolute commitment of all levels of Australia Government to improve the experience of international students in Australia so they find Australia a welcoming, safe and supportive place to study and live. (ANI)

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