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International Education Market in Australia Falls $3 Billion or 20% Past Year

Article from The Australian Higher Ed:

$3bn hit to economy as foreign students slump.

THE value of international students to the Australian education sector has collapsed by 20 per cent as the high dollar gouges an industry already reeling from migration cutbacks, a prohibitive visa regime and violence against foreign students.

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show plummeting overseas student numbers slashed more than $3 billion in revenue from the nation’s biggest export service industry in a year.

Education exports crashed to $13.9bn last year from $17.2bn in 2010 and a 2009 peak of $17.7bn, in the worst result since 2007.

The peak group representing English-language colleges said the federal government had not done enough to help the industry in a major crisis.

“If this was related to manufacturing, we would see a different response,” said English Australia head Sue Blundell.

UniversityofMelbournehigher education expert Simon Marginson said revenue growth since 2007 had been wiped out.

“It bears out our worst fears about the downturn,” he said.

Professor Marginson said the figures showed the government had been right to accept the recommendations from last year’s Knight review of student visas, including easier visa access and better post-study work rights.

But Professor Marginson said it would be some time before numbers picked up. “We still have much work to do to persuade education agents, parents and students the door has been reopened andAustraliaonce again welcomes international students.”

RMIT analyst Gavin Moodie said the downturn was likely to have most impact on short English language programs.

But experts fear worse is to come when the decline hits universities, causing damage to the wider economy.

A Deloitte Access Economics report last year found the downturn could hit the economy harder than the universities, costing 57,000 jobs and stripping $6.2bn from GDP by 2015.

It found a downturn in university enrolments would have a greater impact on the economy than other educational sectors because university students studied longer and paid higher fees.

So far the downturn has been concentrated in the vocational and English language sectors, both of which lost more than 16 per cent of their international students last year. This reflects federal government policy, after vocational colleges became embroiled in migration-linked rorts in 2008 and 2009.

Higher education enrolments were steady last year, although the number of new students declined by 5 per cent. Universities have benefited from this year’s removal of enrolment caps for domestic students, with an extra 150,000 admitted to public universities since 2007.

But Dr Moodie warned that universities depended on English-language students, with more then half the higher education visas granted last year going to people who had applied from withinAustralia, usually after completing vocational or English courses.

Opposition universities spokesman Brett Mason said the “perfect storm” predicted for the past three years had finally hit international education.

But Senator Mason remained optimistic about demand for university places.

Central Queensland University international education researcher Alison Owens said it would take time for the Knight reforms and the internationalisation of university curriculums to flow through to overseas enrolments. Meanwhile the industry was experiencing increasing competition.”

Commentary to follow….. but in short congratulation Australian politicians, society, racists and racist demographers, media, the misinformed and the industry, well done :)  Takes decades to make an industry and months to sabotage through playing the “race card” in media and politics……

AIEC QUEST Australian International Education Centre.

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