GIFTED AND TALENTED
PROGRAMS — CHINESE STUDENTS
1292. Hon SIMON O'BRIEN to the Minister for Education
I refer to the minister's
response to my question without notice 1267 yesterday seeking information on
why the government is going to give
precedence to fee-paying students of one ethnic group over others, including
Australians, in part because, and I quote, ''We have been
approached by representatives from Chinese education agents''.
What will the government do if it is
approached by representatives of Japanese, Indian, Malaysian, Filipino, Thai,
Ukrainian, Italian, Spanish, Syrian or Venezuelan education agents, and are
positions at our highest achieving public schools really going to be sold to
There are a couple of things. I do
not accept the premise of part of the member's question about
Australians being excluded, so maybe I will start from the beginning. The
international education program —
Hon Simon O'Brien
Hon SUE ELLERY: Let me answer your question,
The international education program
runs across a spectrum. We want more international students to come into our
schools so that they understand and get an appreciation of Western Australia,
their families visit and they think about
studying either at TAFE—we have also announced opportunities at TAFE as
part of our international education strategy—or at a Western Australian
university. The range of measures put in place include, for example, principals
of what might be described as mid-tier secondary schools across Western Australia,
including regional Western Australia, having got together and developed a marketing
program to attract more international students from around the world to those
schools. The select academic program is one part of a much broader, much longer
spectrum of international education mechanisms.
To answer the last part of the
member's question, I remind members that since 1984, across various
shades of government, Western Australian public schools have been accepting
fee-paying international students so that —
Hon Simon O'Brien
Hon SUE ELLERY: Honourable
member, I am answering the question.
The PRESIDENT: Member, you do
not get a supplementary. The Leader of the House is on her feet.
Hon Simon O'Brien: It
was an unruly interjection, not a supplementary!
The PRESIDENT: It was a very
unruly interjection and I have noted that.
Hon Simon O'Brien: I apologise,
The PRESIDENT: Thank you.
Leader of the House.
Hon SUE ELLERY: It is a broad
program across the spectrum. The academic select program is one, and it is with
our biggest trading partner, whereby we know we have international students
keen to come and study at our public schools. If there is no capacity at those
schools, they will not enrol students for that year. It is a broad spectrum to
do two things. It will increase the number of international students who study
at not only our schools but also our TAFE colleges and universities, because
international education is about family members and others coming to visit and
spending their money while they are here, and it is about jobs. International
education actually increases jobs—it
does not diminish jobs. Our international education spectrum needs to be across
the board. This is one part of it and I hope it is very successful.