The Hon Steve Herbert MP - travel report - China, June-July 2016

Minister The Hon. Steve Herbert, MLC
Portfolio Minister for International Education
Countries visited China
Date of travel 24 June – 6 July 2016
No. of official travel days 13
Accompanying ministerial staff Advisor
Accompanied by spouse in an official capacity No
Funding for the overseas trip was paid by (list department/s or agency) Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
Air fares $16,884.92*
Accommodation $6,702.52*
Other expenses (includes surface travel and travel allowances) $7,756.83*
Travel cost for minister and staff $30,344.27*

*The above costs are not final and complete

Purpose of travel

The purpose of my travel to China was to build government-to-government relations and promote the interests of Victoria's education sector. The trip provided opportunities to identify further international education initiatives between Victoria and China and meet with key decision makers in Beijing, Nanjing, Shanghai, Kunshan and Chengdu. The Victorian Government has a long-standing sister-state relationship with Jiangsu Province and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Sichuan Department of Education.

The visit supported the Victorian Government's high priority on international education which has been identified as one of six priority industry sectors in Victoria's Future Industries initiative. In addition, Victoria's new China Strategy Partnerships for Prosperity commits to supporting the activities of Victorian education providers in China as well as growing Chinese post-graduate student enrolments by 25 per cent over the next 10 years.

Key elements of my program included:

  • Attending high level national and state government meetings to discuss and promote opportunities for research, education and training partnerships
  • Participating in campus visits to Nanjing University, Beijing Polytechnic, East China Normal University, Chengdu No 52 Middle School and Sichuan University
  • Providing a public address to Australian Studies students at East China Normal University
  • Hosting Victorian Alumni events in Beijing and Shanghai
  • Providing the opening address at the Water Sensitive Cities Summit in Kunshan
  • Signing an MoU between the State of Victoria and the State Administration for Foreign Experts Affairs
  • Witnessing MoUs between a number of Victorian TAFE institutes and Chinese partners.

Benefits of travel to the State of Victoria

International education is Victoria's largest service export and contributes $5.6 billion to the economy. China is Victoria's largest source market for international students, with one-third of international students in Victoria coming from China.

This trip enabled extensive relationship building and information sharing, with 17 meetings with senior government officials, education agencies and training institutions as well as two Victorian alumni networking events.


In Beijing, I attended a country briefing by the Australian Embassy to provide me with an overall picture of Victoria's engagement in the education sector in China. Victorian vocational education and training (VET) providers have a long history of delivering Australian VET qualifications and skills training in China, and nine out of 10 of Victoria's universities have partnership agreements with Chinese universities.

I signed a new five year MoU with the State Administration for Foreign Experts Affairs, identifying several areas for cooperation, including potential for a teacher/faculty exchange program and research collaboration.

I met with the China Education Association for International Education, who have a long history of providing internship and mid-career professional development for partner countries, and which could provide opportunities for Victorian graduates and professionals.

I visited the campus of Beijing Polytechnic, one of the leading vocational colleges in China. I had discussions around potential collaborations regarding teacher development and exchange opportunities for Victorian TAFEs.

I also attended a Victorian Alumni Networking event to promote ongoing connections and strong relationships with Victorian alumni who are now leaders in business, industry and government. The event demonstrated the Victorian Government's support for international education and promoted Victoria's reputation as an attractive destination to live, work, study and do business.


I visited the prestigious Nanjing University and was briefed on the numerous collaborations between the university and institutions in Victoria. Victoria and Jiangsu have a 37 year sister-state relationship and many Victorian Hamer Scholarship recipients study at Nanjing University.

I witnessed the MoU signing between Holmesglen Institute and Nanjing Xiaozhuang University (NXU). This MoU in early childhood education includes establishing a demonstration English Language Early Childhood Centre to extend pre-school education knowledge using innovative aspects of the Australian curriculum. This initiative creates an educational pathway for NXU students to further study at Holmesglen Institute and also provides for Holmesglen students to use the Centre for an international placement. The Centre will further enhance the reputation of Holmesglen Institute internationally.

The Jiangsu Provincial Education Department provided me with an update on activities it is initiating as well as the opportunities that the MoU with the Victorian Department of Education and Training provides. The meeting was important in strengthening and consolidating this relationship.


I met with the Department of Housing and Urban-Rural Construction and informed them of the upcoming 16th Victoria Jiangsu Joint Economic Committee meeting to be held in Nanjing in September. This department could potentially be an important partner for future collaboration.

I opened the Water Sensitive Cities Summit in Kunshan, a partnership between the Jiangsu Provincial Government and the Victorian Government. The summit demonstrated the work of the Monash University based Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities and its Chinese partners.


In Shanghai, I gave a public speech to a group of postgraduate students undertaking Australian Studies at the East China Normal University. This university could be an excellent partner for post-graduate exchange with Victorian universities.

In my meeting with the Shanghai Overseas Education Exchange Centre (SOEEC), we discussed a range of possible education exchange and cooperation programs for Victorian students. SOEEC is considering setting up an office in Melbourne for the Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) program. TEFL provides opportunities for Victorian teachers wanting to teach English in China.

Several of our TAFEs also signed agreements during the visit to Shanghai, further underlining the broad-ranging relationships with Chinese education institutions.

  • Box Hill signed an agreement with Shsun College to deliver vocational training services for Chinese students, particularly in the construction sector.
  • William Angliss Institute and the Tourism College of Zhejiang signed a joint venture, which involves setting up of the Sino-Australia International Hotel Management School, with a focus on hospitality, tourism and commercial cookery training.
  • Chisholm Institute and the China Electricity Council signed a partnership acknowledgment celebrating the longstanding (15 year) collaboration between Chisholm and the China Electricity Council.

Initiatives such as these are a priority for the Victorian Government as they strengthen linkages between Victorian and Chinese institutes.

In Shanghai, I hosted a Victorian Alumni Networking event for the Victorian Connection – a networking group that connects professional Victorians and those with Victorian interests when living abroad. Victorian alumni and expatriates in China play a key role in Victoria's international education agenda.


I met with representatives of the Sichuan Department of Education, which has an existing MoU with the Victorian Government. They are keen to deepen the scope of cooperation and facilitate more institutional level collaboration, particularly university partnerships.

I visited Sichuan University, one of the key national universities directly under the State Ministry of Education, China. The university is keen to form partnerships with Victorian universities and identify areas for joint PhDs.

I also visited the Chengdu No 52 Middle School, a school for juveniles who have committed minor offences. They are keen to set up a partnership with a similar school in Victoria, such as Parkville College. There are also opportunities for Victorian education providers to deliver teacher training for the faculty at No. 52 Middle School.

Next steps / Follow up

As described above, a number of opportunities have been identified and these will be followed up by the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources through appropriate contacts in International Education, Trade Victoria and the Victorian Government Business Offices (VGBOs) in China.

In relation to the Victorian Government MoU with the State Administration for Foreign Experts Affairs, the Education Services Manager (ESM) based at the VGBO in Beijing will identify specific opportunities and work with my department to notify relevant Victorian universities, TAFEs and other education institutions of these opportunities.

In addition, the ESM at the Beijing VGBO will work with the China Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE) to draft an MoU with the Victorian Government to provide internship services for Victorian university graduates coming to China. The MoU could be signed during the next ministerial visit to China or the Chinese Ministry of Education's visit to Melbourne in November 2016.

Victoria and Sichuan are working towards becoming sister-states in 2016. A letter of intent has already been signed and will lead to the signing of the sister-state agreement in September 2016. My department will explore the possibility of Sichuan University signing an MoU with a Victorian university to coincide with this event. Additionally, Sichuan University will celebrate 120 years in September.

Page last updated: 26 October 2016