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Transnational secondary schooling and im/mobile international students


Schools and school education systems within nations are vying to increase international student enrolments in secondary schools. This analysis of the change over a decade in the enrolment of international secondary students in Victoria, Australia, indicates how the processes of internationalisation and commercialisation of education have affected both public and private school sectors. Four factors have impacted on international senior student enrolments over a decade: global economic fluctuations; the growth of international schools globally targeting home country students; the emergence of overseas campuses for elite private schools and policies encouraging internationalisation. We propose that these forces, among others, are working in concert to reshape the nature of international student populations and international schooling in both home and host countries. These factors, together with an overarching instrumentalist policy approach underpinning the engagement of Australian schools with the international education market, provide new opportunities for less socio-economically advantaged schools to enter the international education market. It argues that the common idea of international students attending only elite schools no longer captures the phenomenon and raises questions as to how we understand what it means to be an ‘international’ school or student.

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  1. 1.

    The VCE is the certificate for graduation awarded after completing senior secondary school (Years 11–12) and which enables admission to higher education provided a student achieves the ATAR score required for their selected course. Students register with VCAA to undertake the VCE at the beginning of Year 11.

  2. 2.

    Homestay, whereby a domestic family plays host to an international student for remuneration, is ‘the most common form of accommodation for international school students enrolled with providers without access to on-campus boarding facilities’ AEI (2008). The Strategic Framework for International Engagement by the Australian School Sector 2008–2011. In: Department of Education EaWR, Australian Education International (AEI), Canberra.

  3. 3.

    Currency rates for 2015/2016.

  4. 4.

    Beijing Capital Land Ltd. is an investment holding company in China.


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Correspondence to Mark Rahimi.

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Rahimi, M., Halse, C. & Blackmore, J. Transnational secondary schooling and im/mobile international students. Aust. Educ. Res. 44, 299–321 (2017).

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  • International students
  • International education
  • Secondary schools
  • Economic factors
  • Mobility
  • Australia