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|March Education figures drop|
Numbers of full-fee paying international students at Australian institutions on student visas have dropped 8.5 percent year-on-year, according to March figures from Australian Education International.
Australia’s international education sector has faced a number of challenges in recent years – including a high Australian dollar and greater competition from the UK and the US.
The government agency reported drops across all key sectors for the period between March 2011 and March 2012.
The full-fee paying figures are a sharp contrast on year-to-date March growth rate figures for enrolments, which have increased at an average 6.5 percent per year since 2002.
Commencements in YTD March 2012 hit 117,136 students – a decrease of 7.2 percent for the same period in 2011. The Higher Education sector ranked first by volume of enrolments of commencements, but still recorded a decline of 4.0 percent on enrolments and 6.0 percent decline on commencements for the same period in 2011.
China, Australia’s largest source of international students continued to dominate a range of sectors – including Higher Education, ranking first by volume (40.6%) followed by Malaysia (7.6%). In the Vocational Education and Training sector (VET), China ranked second as largest source country by enrolments with 11 percent, behind India at 29.5 percent. China also dominated the ELICOS sector with a 25.9 percent share of total enrolments and 23.4 percent of commencements. Chinese enrolments and commencements in the ELICOS sector however declined 22.2 percent and 21.3 percent respectively. In the School’s sector, China was again the largest market, accounting for 38.1 percent of commencements, despite a decline of more than 10 percent on 2011 figure. ■