AUSTRALIA – PwC Australia has acquired a 15 per cent stake in TOP Education, a Sydney-based private higher education provider, in a move that will strengthen the firm’s focus on Australia’s third largest export - international education.
“Australia needs the services sector to step up and fill the gap left by the slowing demand for commodities. Education-related exports present one of the most promising areas for growth,” PwC Financial Advisory leader Tom Seymour said.
PwC and TOP Education have also entered into a long-term alliance agreement. Under the alliance, PwC will work closely with TOP to deliver initiatives including tertiary student career development and executive education programs, as well as designing ‘smart campus’ and digital education solutions.
“The federal government recently released Australia's first national plan to increase international education exports, doubling the number of international students from 500,000 to almost a million by 2025,” Mr Seymour said. “We are delighted to enter into this alliance with TOP Education and look forward to building on their credentials in the sector.”
TOP Education was founded in 2001 by Chinese-Australian academic and businessman Dr Minshen Zhu, a Fudan University graduate from Shanghai who completed his PhD at the Australian National University.
Based in the Australian Technology Park, Sydney, TOP Education offers undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Business and Law to approximately 1,000 students. TOP is the only non-university institute to offer Australian accredited Law degrees.
TOP is registered by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) as a higher education provider. It is also recognised by China’s Ministry of Education as one of only 42 Australian universities or higher education institutions on the Jiayou Shewai Jianguan Xinxi Wang (JSJ) list – a trusted source of information for Chinese students when choosing where to study.
According to PwC Australia’s China practice leader, Kai Zhang, Top Education and its founder “are highly regarded in China and often recommended to Chinese students who want to study abroad.”
“This investment in an alliance with TOP Education positions us to capitalise on the rising demand from China for Australian tertiary and executive education services,” he said.
TOP Education founder Dr Minshen Zhu described the alliance with PwC Australia as a “significant milestone in the development of Australian higher education innovation.”
“The alliance with PwC will encourage closer Australia-China collaboration in the sector,” he said.
“The Chinese government has recently released its new policy on developing international education, and we look forward to supporting this through the alliance. TOP and PwC will play major roles in helping Australia’s education export sector grow through a reputation for quality and innovation.”
TOP Education’s Chair of Council and former Vice-Chancellor of La Trobe University, Emeritus Professor Brian Stoddart, said that TOP was delighted to align with PwC.
“PwC recognises the value of investment in education export services and of the services already provided by TOP as a leading private innovator in the sector,” he said.
“TOP is committed to a student-focused approach. Our students and graduates will benefit greatly from exposure to the business acumen and insights from Australia’s largest professional services firm.”
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