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From Melbourne, Australia’s Knowledge Capital, to Destination Dublin
Can Melbourne’s dual strategies of knowledge-city development and international student focus be achieved in Dublin?
5.2 International student focus
- Establish an International Education Taskforce to carry out the needs analysis of international students and subsequent research to inform policy developments. The Taskforce could be led by the DCC Office of International Relations and Research in collaboration with the DRHEA.
- Establish the Dublin International Students Service Centre. By joining forces with the DCC and industry partners in the region, the DRHEA’s resourcing issues could potentially be circumnavigated.
- Pilot the airport pick-up service in September 2009.
- Develop an international student satisfaction survey. This could be done in collaboration with existing student services. For example, the DIT Retention Office surveys the whole student population annually in relation to the overall student experience. A section specific to international students could easily be inserted.
- Organize whole-of-Dublin events for international students. Events could be incorporated into already existing events, such as the Dublin International Saint Patrick’s Festival, Jameson International Film Festival, etc.
- Collaborate on a Destination Dublin website (see above). Each HEI could assign an existing member of their International Student Offices to manage their section of the website.
- Consider standardization of international student fees.
- As the establishment of overseas offices is currently on hold, it is recommended that the DRHEA concentrate on the EU market for reasons outlined in section 4.1.
5.3 Overall recommendation
The successful implementation of the above recommendations demands a high level of synergy between stakeholders promoting knowledge-city development and those promoting internationalization. This paper proposes that it is not possible to successfully promote one without the other, particularly in the current climate, where resources are at a premium and international education in Ireland is without an overall coordinating body. It is thus proposed that collaboration between government, HEIs and industry is the only way forward.
As highlighted previously, the objectives of the DCC and DRHEA are remarkably compatible. Indeed, the objectives of the DRHEA could be regarded as a sector-specific branch of the broader objectives of the DCC. And yet the two groups have carried out their work independently to date. This paper recommends that the DCC take a leadership role and encourage close collaboration between government, HE and industry. The DRHEA can offer its expertise in teaching, research and internationalization, which will be of significant benefit to the DCC in positioning Dublin as a knowledge city-region and attracting knowledge workers. At the same time, local industry can provide a link between HE knowledge and its real-life applications. In addition, the DCC can offer the DRHEA a platform from which to market its expertise, increase its profile and attract the talented international students and researchers it requires to deliver on its internationalization strategy. Such collaboration could also ensure that the internationalization agenda continues after the life-cycle of SIF or in the case of further reductions in funding.