Contesting Notions of an ‘Education Industry’: Media Commentary on the Transition to a Trade- Orientated International Student Program in Australia
In 1985, the Australian government instituted major changes to its international student policy. These changes signalled a shift in International Student Program intent from an emphasis on international enrolments as a form of humanitarianism – the main focus of the Program since its inception in 1950 – to a tradeorientated approach in which international student fees represented an important source of revenue for tertiary institutions. Whilst this paradigmatic shift in the conceptualisation of international student enrolments is well documented, the manner in which this transition to a market-oriented Program is represented in the media of the time has attracted less scholarly attention. This paper reports on research that examines Australian newspaper coverage of the International Student Program and its transition to a trade-orientated model during the 1980s and into the 1990s and early 2000s. Importantly, it identifies two discursive constructions of the international student population that co-exist within the textual corpus, expressing contrasting views about the nature and purpose of education.