The number of international students choosing to study in Australia has increased by 10% last year with a record nine out of 10 satisfied with their experience in higher education.
Some 554,179 students from almost 200 countries studied in Australia in 2016 with enrolments in higher education and vocational education and training growing 13% and 12% respectively in comparison with 2015.
The Government’s National Strategy for International Education 2025 recognised quality as the key to continued growth of international education in Australia and would continue to build on the average annual rate 10.5% growth in international education recorded since 2013.
Education and Training Minister Simon Birmingham said the Government was continuing its efforts to build on the record growth of the sector, with the first meeting of the International Education Council held late last year and the Council for International Education coordinating a whole of government approach to build the international education sector’s reputation and scale.
‘With record student numbers and record student satisfaction, 2016 was a great year for international education in Australia and the vital role it plays in our national economic and social prosperity,’ said Birmingham.
He pointed out that the latest International Student Survey found 89% of international tertiary students were satisfied or very satisfied with their overall experience in Australia and were continuing to sell the Australian education story when they returned home.
‘This global word of mouth, coupled with the Government’s unprecedented support for our international education institutions means Australia’s world renowned safe and friendly environment would continue to help build on the more than half a million current international students from nearly 200 countries,’ he added.
The survey results also showed that the top three reasons international students chose to study in Australia were the reputation of Australian qualifications, the reputation of the Australian education system as a whole and personal safety and security.
Birmingham also pointed out that the benefits of international education flow through to sectors such as retail and tourism, supporting over 130,000 full time jobs across major cities, and in key regional areas where international education has established a strong foothold.
‘Benefits will also be long lasting as international students create a massive diaspora of Australian friends and advocates across the world, while leaving Australian students better equipped to deal with a world increasingly reliant upon global engagement,’ he explained.
‘While indicators are showing that we will achieve continued growth in international student numbers in 2017 we will also leave no stone unturned to maximise these opportunities. Various geopolitical factors create new possibilities for Australia to maximise our share of the growing number students from all over the world who are travelling to study,’ he added.