Recent facts and figures available show that Australia continues to be a top destination for international students, particularly for those from Asian regions. Whether to learn English or more advanced studies, the numbers are stacking up. A look at some of the astonishing facts and figures and to give some thought on what more we could be doing with this crucial industry.
* Money. The international education industry is Australia’s largest services export sector, contributing nearly 16 billion dollars to the Australian economy in 2010 alone. This amount is more than the total amount of wool, beef and wheat combined on any given year. This gives and good indicator to a quietly growing industry that supports the country without major government help, political interference and financial support – unlike those others.
* Countries. As of October 2010, there are around 600,000 full-fee paying students enrolled in educational courses around the country. China was the biggest market by enrolments (35.9%) followed by India (9.8%). Continuing this trend, 2010 saw a large 21.9% increase in enrolments from the Philippines.
* Continued growth. Since the 1980s, Australia has become a major player in the international student market, offering globally recognised courses and qualifications. Since as early as 2004, Australia was the fifth largest destination for overseas students, attracting around 6% of all tertiary students enrolled outside their country of residence. This implies that Australia will continue to grow its market share considering that there is an expected growth in the Asian markets and even greater growth from China as the country continues to boom – with a population over one billion the market potential is enormous.
* Short term. Short term students, those who will stay for a period less than a year still continue to make up the majority of students arriving each year. Those who study lengthier university courses, such as marketing courses and other 3 year degrees or more still only make up 30%.
* Male and female. It is interesting to note that while international students are roughly 45% male and 55% female, some countries like China have very high female rates, much over the 60% mark. South Korean female rates tend to be higher too. While countries like India and Japan tend to have larger male proportions. This can have large flow on business effects in other markets.
* Staying on afterwards. It is interesting to note that only around 15,000 students will stay on after the completion of their studies. Of this only around 30% actually get permanent resident status based on their skills and qualifications.
Whether good or bad, you really hear of government intervention in this industry and it is a wonder why? Should our governments be doing more to help an industry does so much for our country when traditional industries are supported and attract so much public attention?