AUSTRALIA: Good practice guide for colleges

The federal government has published a good practice guide with details of the best performing international college providers in an effort to improve Australia's reputation for offering quality education to international students.

Education Minister Julia Gillard announced the guide after a two-day "international student roundtable" at Parliament House in Canberra last week.

The meeting was called to allow 31 foreign students from around Australia to raise concerns about their education experience with the government.

Students met with government ministers, received briefings and provided suggestions to the government on international student issues.

The students recommended a number of actions, including establishment of international student information centres as one-stop shops for students to access services relevant to their education and welfare while in Australia.

They also made recommendations regarding an ongoing connection between the government and representatives of international students, including an annual roundtable.

The students will work with representative bodies including the National Union of Students and the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations to establish "a continuing voice for international students", according to a government press release.

A communiqué drawn up at the meeting will be presented by three representatives from the roundtable to a meeting of state and territory education ministers later this month.

Students attending the roundtable are studying at universities across Australia and represent 19 home countries. They were selected from more than 1,300 applications from all states and territories, broadly representing the diversity of international students studying in Australia.

Their work will be part of a review of the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act that governs international students.

Under legislation currently before parliament, all providers of education to international students will be required to undergo a re-registration process, focusing on quality.

A hotline has been established by the Education Department where students can anonymously raise concerns.

* The Good Practice Guide is on the Australian Education International website.