A Prospective Analysis of the Australian Overseas Student Policy

Year: 1993

Author: MacKinnon, Valerie J

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Most policy analysis is retrospective and focuses on either (i) the factors which influenced the development of the policy or, (ii) those associated with successful (or otherwise) policy implementation. Little attention has been given to the possibility of developing a prospective critique of issues related to policy implementation and outcomes, both intended and unintended (although the preparation of environmental impact statements may offer an alternative model to that discussed here). Such a process might take the form of a structured argument about the likelihood of certain outcomes being generated by policy and the value of those outcomes. William Dunn's (1982) jurisprudence metaphor and transactional model of argument was used to examine the Australian government's Overseas Student Policy (OSP) in 1991 when the issue of exporting graduate public health nursing courses to Registered Nurses (RNs) from Hong Kong was first raised. At that time the Hong Kong government was confronted with a range of public health problems associated with the Vietnamese refugee camps. There had been few analyses of the potential impact of the full-fee paying aspect of the OSP. An analysis of the educational and cultural appropriateness of the possibility of exporting a graduate public health nursing course to Hong Kong served as an appropriate 'critical case', a lens through which the broader implications of the policy might be viewed. Three pertinent contexts associated with this hypothetical case were examined - the refugee context, comparative education issues including cross cultural cognition, and the experiences of overseas students studying in Australia. In addition, the analysis was supported by an interpretation of the relevant educational policy contexts of Australia and Hong Kong, the putative "purchaser" of the educational "services".