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Australia International Education Statistics

From the ICEF Monitor:

Australia reverses three-year enrolment decline, commencements up sharply in 2013.  New Australian government statistics show that, for the first time since 2009, there has been an overall increase in the country’s international student enrolment. There were 526,932 international student enrolments in 2013, marking a 2.6% increase over 2012. The 2.6% growth rate compares to an average 5.9% growth rate over the past ten years – but also represents a distinct reversal of the enrolment declines registered in 2010, 2011, and 2012.

Moreover, international student commencements jumped by 9.3% on average across all sectors; all sectors grew except for Vocational Education and Training (VET), which essentially did not change from 2012 (it dropped by 0.1%). The 9.3% growth, furthermore, compares with an average commencement growth rate among international students of 5.4% over the past ten years, suggesting a strengthening base for further growth for Australia going forward….


Source countries

In terms of source countries, four of the top five markets – China, South Korea, Vietnam, and Thailand – are sending more students than in 2012. India, the second-most important source country overall after China, posted an 8.6% decline for the year after a modest (1.85%) year-over-year increase in commencements……


VET still hurting, though decline has slowed

The next-most important international education sector in Australia, by volume at least, is not enjoying the same upswing as the other sectors. Responsible for 25.6% of total enrolments and 27.7% of total commencements, VET enrolments fell by 6.4% in 2013 and commencements by 0.1% in 2013.

In VET, India emerges as the most important source country, responsible for 21.5% of enrolments and 17.6% of commencements. China is next with 10.5% enrolments, followed by the Republic of Korea and Thailand (7.3% and 6.6% respectively).

In a recent ICEF Monitor article, Claire Field, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET), made a point of underlining the importance of the VET sector in Australia.

But as far back as July of 2013, we wrote about the data emerging then about the sector continuing to experience declines, in large part because of what many see as its exclusion from visa and immigration reforms in Australia. The 6.4% international student enrolment drop this year in VET follows a decline of 50% from 2009-2012.’


However, some question the data used, and especially counting year on year vs the low point, in other words 7% growth annually for some time is needed to approach the peaks reached earlier.


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