CHIEF Minister Katy Gallagher is off to China in September to promote Canberra as a place to come for university, as the ACT ponders how to take advantage of the “Asian Century”.
Ms Gallagher will lead a delegation which includes ANU vice-chancellor Professor Ian Young and UC vice-chancellor Professor Stephen Parker on a five-day trip to visit major universities in Shanghai and Beijing.
“The China mission will provide my first opportunity as ACT Chief Minister and the Minister for Higher Education to demonstrate our city’s strong commitment to growing our international student market, promoting the benefits of studying and living in Canberra, and to strengthening our city’s relationship with Beijing,” the Chief Minister says.
Ms Gallagher says she is “delighted” to be accompanied by Professors Young and Parker.
“The presence of both Vice-Chancellors on the delegation serves to underline the importance both institutions place on this trip and the genuine partnership we have created to increase Canberra’s share of international students. The high level delegation demonstrates how closely the ACT Government is working with the universities to support their work and promote Canberra at the same time.”
In announcing the China visit, Ms Gallagher also released an ACT Government response to the Commonwealth Government’s Asian Century White Paper.
“Within a few years the combined countries of Asia will be the world’s largest producers of goods and services and the largest consumers of them,” Ms Gallagher points out. “The Asian Century presents us with the right conditions for us to capitalise on the natural strengths and comprehensive advantages of the ACT economy.”
The ACT’s own “Asian Century” document says the ACT region must “foster close people and business ties, embrace cultural exchange and create the conditions to grow trade” to take advantage of Asia’s “enormous economic potential”, and identifies seven key areas for action.
Education exports is on the list along with Asian language skills, sister-city relationships, direct flights from Canberra Airport and the existing six-part Global Connect program.
The paper says the ACT needs to enlist alumni from its universities “to reach out to Asian students considering study in Canberra”, encourage business-to-business links and continue to foster trade with Asian countries, focusing on Singapore, China, India, Indonesia and Timor-Leste.
The Government also says it will work with local business groups to build on export links to Asia and support business clusters and precincts which “concentrate commercial expertise, encourage collective excellence and make access easier for investment and export”.