Partnership Agreement with UTAS Tue 26 June 2012 Lara Giddings Premier Download hi-res version Attracting more international students to study in Tasmania will be a key focus of a partnership agreement between the Tasmanian Government and the University of Tasmania, signed today. The Premier, Lara Giddings, and the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Peter Rathjen signed the agreement ahead of their trade mission to China and Vietnam in September. "My Government has its sights set firmly on Asia as a source of future economic growth, both through exports and sectors like education and tourism," Ms Giddings said. "China is already Tasmania's number one export destination as well as our largest market for international students. "The rapid economic growth of this region has the potential to provide many more opportunities for Tasmanian businesses and build resilience in our economy. "I know Professor Rathjen shares my commitment to growing the international education sector. "We want to encourage international students to choose Tasmania as a study destination and ensure that they have a rewarding experience during their time here." Ms Giddings said Tasmania currently had more than 300 full fee paying international students in government schools. "Last year Tasmania's share international education sector was $128 million which is less than 1 per cent of the $16.3 billion National total." Professor Rathjen said the Partnership Agreement would help drive an exciting new opportunity for Tasmania to develop the international education sector. Ä continuing growth of international students is important not just for the learning, research and social environment of UTAS but also for the cultural and intellectual life of the Tasmanian community and for the benefit to the Tasmanian economy," he said. Professor Rathjen said last year the number of international students studying at UTAS grew to more than 3,300 students, representing an increase of more than seven per cent on the previous year. "Ï believe there is a great deal more we can do in this area and that begins with developing the overarching strategy for the State," he said. "The University is pleased to be partnering with the State Government, through the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and the Arts to develop and refine that strategy." The partnership agreement is the fourth signed between UTAS and the Government and will help guide collaboration between the parties for the next three years. Ms Giddings said the State Government is working with UTAS to realise the vision of Tasmania becoming a university state. "Developments like IMAS, the Menzies Centre, Domain House, and consolidating the Arts school on the Hobart waterfront are helping to bring the city and the university closer together. "Through our collaboration on the exciting SenseT project, we are also bringing the benefits of creative thinking and innovation to regional Tasmania, which has the potential to revolutionise agriculture." Other core priorities under the agreement include boosting educational outcomes for students and encouraging greater research collaboration between the university and Government agencies.