Oz brushes aside declining trend in overseas students market

Australia has brushed aside predictions of declining trends in overseas student markets, saying the enrolments have gone up despite adverse conditions.

Melboure: Australia has brushed aside
predictions of declining trends in overseas student markets,
saying the enrolments have gone up despite adverse conditions,
even as a top minister asserted that his country is not
selling (permanent) residency but quality education.

Australian Education Minister Simon Crean said "I`ve
heard talk of the imminent collapse of overseas student
markets."

"Let me just make this point: the last figures I saw
showed that enrolments in university-run courses have
increased for overseas students [despite the exchange rate and
global financial crisis]" he said.

Crean blamed the any decline in enrolments to
government intervention aimed at "shonky operators".

"We don`t want people offering courses, in whatever
institution in Australia, as a means by which they`re selling
[permanent] residency, not quality education," he was quoted
as saying by `The Australian`.

In June, overseas enrolments in higher education were
10.7 per cent up compared with the same month last year.

Meanwhile, Opposition Liberal party Leader Tony
Abbott had warned overseas student numbers had to be
"politically sustainable."

International Education Association of Australia,
which complains of damaging, ad-hoc changes to visa rules, has
asked the government to stump up a USD 100 million rescue
package.

Student recruiters in China predict 30-50 per cent
falls in enrolments for 2011.

Commencements at English language colleges, which lead
students to universities, have plummeted by 20 per cent.
English Australia executive director Sue Blundell has
warned that commencements could be down 40 per cent by the end
of the year.

UNSW Global, which offers English language courses
and foundation studies, and feeds overseas students to the
University of NSW, made 24 staff redundant last month.

"It`s a response to declining market conditions and
budgets," UNSW Global chief executive Rob Forage said.

"We`re certainly seeing a softening in demand from
overseas.

The challenge is to really understand how big that is going
to be.

" In a survey by market researcher TNS, 46 per cent of
the 1378 respondents believed overseas students were taking
university places from Australians.

"This is truly worrying.

It`s a blow from another direction," said Chris Nyland, a
Monash University expert on overseas student security.

"There`s a lot of resentment out in the suburbs about
the increased competition for resources, and it`s not just
university places.

" Overseas student fees accounted for 15 per cent of
overall university income in 2008 and subsidise the teaching
of domestic students.

PTI

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