International student numbers soar by 11 per cent
Posted on June 23, 2015
There were 216,815 international students enrolled in higher education courses, up 9 per cent on last year, while vocational education enrolments grew by 15 per cent to 103,692. Vocational enrolments still remain significantly down since 2010.
China was the biggest source country for higher education enrolments, at 35 per cent, ahead of India on 12 per cent. India had the largest share of vocational enrolments, at 18 per cent, ahead of China on 7 per cent.
With the mining boom winding down, the Abbott government has made maximising the potential of international education a focus of its economic strategy. International education is Australia’s largest service export, worth $16 billion a year.
The government announced this week that it would reduce the number of student visa categories from eight to two and make it easier for students to get a visa to study at private vocational colleges.
The changes have been welcomed by universities and the private education sector.
The government is conducting a review of the international education sector to explore ways to attract more students from growth areas such as Latin America and the Middle East.
The review is examining how Australia can better compete with other countries on course quality, accommodation and public transport for international students.
Foreign students have been a major target for illegal accommodation providers. A 2013 Fairfax Media investigation uncovered up to 20 students “hot bunking” – sharing beds at different times of the day and night – in accommodation near Macquarie University in North Ryde.
Education Minister Christopher Pyne will hold a round table on international education on Thursday to be attended by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane, student groups and education and business representatives.