Executive Director's Update

May 2021

After five years leading the International Education Division I have taken up a new role as Regional Director, Inner Metropolitan Melbourne, with the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, to support the State and local governments in the economic revitalisation of Melbourne.

It has been an honour and a privilege working with schools across Victoria to embed global learning and engagement across our education system. Despite the challenges we have all faced over the last 12 months, I am extremely proud of what we have achieved together, building the largest International Student Program in the country and launching a range of programs to provide opportunities for our own students to engage with the world (summarised in the below snapshot). Almost 1,000 international students enrolled in Victorian government schools remain overseas, but it’s only a matter of time before they will be able to return, and when they do I know they’ll be welcomed with open arms by their peers and their school communities. 

Global learning and engagement infographic

As we all know, our world is more interconnected than ever before, through travel, technology, global supply chains, and the flow of capital and ideas. And if we’re to overcome the challenges of our time, like pandemics or climate change, we must find new ways to collaborate with others around the world, by equipping our learners with languages, intercultural capabilities and global perspectives. We need to keep connecting our young people and our educators to the world around them, through sister school partnerships, learning exchanges, and of course the ISP, which brings thousands of inspiring young people from around the world into our classrooms, to enrich school communities all over the State, and contribute to the vibrant multiculturalism that is one of our greatest assets. These amazing students contribute so much, yes to our economy and our workforce, but also as future ambassadors and most importantly to our ideas, our aspirations and the way we see ourselves and each other. They inspire us and open our eyes to the wider world. 

I want to thank our tireless Principals, teachers and International Student Coordinators for their commitment, their leadership, and their belief in the importance and transformative power of global learning and engagement. I learned so much from so many of you over the years and the chance to visit so many of your schools and witness firsthand the difference you are making was always a highlight.

I also want to acknowledge my IED team members, who give so much of themselves to their work, day in and day out. Their dedication to every one of the international students in our care, particularly throughout COVID-19, has been exceptional.

I know you will all continue to work closely with the Division and with Kurt Mullane as Acting Executive Director and I wish our schools the very best as you continue to create the brightest of futures for our next generation.

Joel Backwell, International Education Division​​​

Last Update: 17/05/2021 12:13 PM