The Australian government revealed that there are now 693,750 international students in the country. Student numbers for 2018 grew by 11.4% or 70,820 more than in 2017, although the previous year has registered a higher growth at 12.6%. This growth is mostly coming from Asia notably China (#1), India (#2), Nepal (3), Malaysia (#5), South Korea (#6), Vietnam (#7), Thailand (#9) and Indonesia (#10). Of the top 10 source countries, only Brazil (#4) and Colombia (#8) are not from the Asian continent.
Aside from the top 10 sending markets, emerging markets such as Mongolia, Bhutan and the Philippines had reported year-on-year commencement growth of 41%, 38% and 36%, respectively. ICEF Monitor, a market intelligence resource for the international education sector, also noted double-digit growth in counties like Chile (27%), Argentina (25%), Myanmar (18%), Sri Lanka (18%), Kenya (15.2%) and Bangladesh (10.3%).
Australia’s third largest export sector
Austrade reports that international education represents Australia’s third largest export sector after iron ore and coal, and was valued at AUS$34.9 billion in 2018.
The total enrolment figures, reported at 876,400 are much higher than the current number of international students because some of the students have enrolled in more than one course in the given year, according to the Department of Education and Training.
Among the five highest sending markets, international enrolments recorded 255,896 Chinese students which accounts for 29.2% of the total, followed by 108,292 Indian students (12.4%), 52,243 Nepalese students (6%), 40,864 Brazilian students (4.7%) and 33,730 Malaysian students (3.8%). The higher education sector posted the biggest growth at 14.4% with a significant increase in postgraduate enrolments, now reported to be higher than the number of undergraduate enrolments. The vocational sector also posted a double-digit growth at 13% while enrolments for the English language program slightly grew by 0.7%.