The great debate

UNSW has been chosen to host this year's Asian education debate - the first time the globally televised regional competition has been held in Australia.

Int students

UNSW has been chosen to host this year's Asian education debate - the first time the globally televised regional competition has been held in Australia.

University debating teams from across Asia will join Australian teams to debate the contentious question: should Asian students aim to stay in Australia to start a new life after university, or feel obliged to take their qualifications back home?

To be held in August, the two-day forum will be televised by the Hong Kong based Chinese satellite channel, Phoenix TV, which also sponsors the event. Phoenix has a worldwide Chinese-language audience of about 1.2 billion people, and is part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

Phoenix TV will bring elite university debating teams from China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan and Singapore to join Chinese language debating teams from UNSW and the University of Melbourne. This is the first time a region-wide Chinese-language debating contest will be
hosted in Australia.

Last year, over 450,000 international students were studying in Australia; the biggest single group (22 percent) from China, following by India (14 percent) and South Korea (nine percent), according to Australian Education International (AEI). AEI estimates international education contributed $12.5 billion to Australian export earnings in 2007, a 17 per cent increase on the previous year.

The contest will take place in the UNSW Law Theatre on August 16 and 17, with hourly news updates broadcast globally. The Rudd Government is seeking to boost Australia's Asian language skills, and the Chinese language debate will showcase the ability of talented Australian students to engage on an intellectual level with the Asian region.

For Asian governments, the prospect of losing the skills of millions of students who attend university overseas is a pressing issue.

For further information: Judy Brookman | 9385 3249 | 0421 061251 | j.brookman@unsw.edu.au