Karen Sandercock

First Assistant Secretary, Department of Education

Australian Government

Karen Sandercock is the First Assistant Secretary within the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment.

Karen is responsible for overseeing policy development to improve the quality frameworks for international education. She leads the government’s policy work to protect and enhance the quality of Australia’s international education sector, to provide tuition protection to international students, and to support the student visa integrity program.

Karen is also responsible for international education matters for countries in the South and South East Asia region. This involves managing the bilateral education and research relationship with South and South East Asian nations including Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and India. She is responsible for developing and implementing strategies to progress Australia’s international education agenda in the region to strengthen student mobility, quality assurance and qualifications recognition, and promote collaboration in education, research and skills.

Karen is a career officer of the Australian Government. She has represented the government internationally including as Counsellor (Education and Science) based at the Australian Embassy to Japan and Adviser (Development Cooperation) to the Australian Embassy to Italy. Karen has held a number of senior positions within government, having worked extensively across education policy for schools, higher education and international education, as well as in employment and industrial relations policy.