World class drive

Canning Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Josh Zim­mer­man

WA’S only pub­lic high school ded­i­cated solely to over­seas stu­dents raked in more than $7.4 mil­lion in fees last year, help­ing to pay for far-flung re­cruit­ing drives in Sin­ga­pore, Malaysia, In­done­sia, Viet­nam, Zam­bia, Hong Kong and China.

The Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment spent more than $62,000 send­ing staff to mar­ket Can­ning College to the seven coun­tries in the first half of 2019 as the State Gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues its pur­suit of lu­cra­tive in­ter­na­tional stu­dents.

Can­ning College was es­tab­lished in Bent­ley in 1982 to pro­vide an av­enue for adults who had dropped out of high school to com­plete their Year 12 ed­u­ca­tion and has ac­cepted in­ter­na­tional stu­dents since 1985.

In De­cem­ber 2017, the Mcgowan gov­ern­ment an­nounced it would bar lo­cal stu­dents from the school from 2019 as part of $64 mil­lion in planned fund­ing cuts. The move re­sulted in a 24 per cent surge in en­rol­ments of in­ter­na­tional stu­dents at Can­ning College to 403 last year – more than half of all over­seas stu­dents in the pub­lic school sys­tem – with act­ing Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Rita Saf­fi­oti con­fi­dent many would de­cide to at­tend univer­sity in WA.

“Most Can­ning College grad­u­ates progress to WA uni­ver­si­ties and con­trib­ute sig­nif­i­cantly to the econ­omy for at least four years, but in most cases more than four years,” she said.

“This comes mainly from ed­u­ca­tion fees, liv­ing ex­pen­di­ture in­clud­ing housing, and from tourism of friends and fam­ily into Perth.”

While Can­ning College col­lected $7.4m in fees last year alone, Ms Saf­fi­oti said none of the money would flow into Gov­ern­ment cof­fers, with the school in­stead op­er­at­ing on a costre­cov­ery ba­sis.

“It is an­tic­i­pated that de­mand for college cour­ses will con­tinue to grow in line with State Gov­ern­ment ini­tia­tives to de­velop in­ter­na­tional ed­u­ca­tion in Western Aus­tralia,” Ms Saf­fi­oti said.

Un­veiled in Oc­to­ber, one of those schemes will al­low up to 35 Chi­nese stu­dents per year to en­rol at some of WA’S most sought-af­ter pub­lic schools, in­clud­ing Wil­let­ton, Ross­moyne, Church­lands and Ap­ple­cross high schools, Shen­ton and Bob Hawke col­leges and John Curtin College of the Arts.

Ms Saf­fi­oti re­vealed the State Gov­ern­ment had so far spent $20,000 send­ing two prin­ci­pals and other del­e­gates to China to pro­mote the ini­tia­tive.

“The del­e­ga­tion was also in­volved in pro­mot­ing in­ter­na­tional ed­u­ca­tion in Western Aus­tralia gen­er­ally,” she said.

The Mcgowan gov­ern­ment would not dis­close how much it had spent ad­ver­tis­ing the Chi­nese stu­dent pro­gram, but Ms Saf­fi­oti said “videos, brochures, flyers and ban­ners have been de­vel­oped to pro­mote all in­ter­na­tional ed­u­ca­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties”.

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