Benefits of international education for Australia

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Australia receives an uncapped number of international students every year. The government does not limit the number of student visas granted to international students in part because the industry contributes so significantly to the country’s economy. Approximately $14.5 billion is generated from international student sector each year, making the international education industry Australia’s largest non-resource sector and fourth largest export industry. Below are other reasons why the student visa and international education sectors are important for Australia.

Status of international education

According to a report released by the International Education Advisory Council, as of 2012, there are over half a million international students in Australia. Of this number, 21.3% study in universities, while the rest are distributed across other levels. The international education sector supports 100,000 jobs.

The report entitled “Australia – Educating Globally” also classifies Australia as a contender to the US and the UK as a great country to study in for international students. In fact, Australia produces very satisfied international students and graduates. In a 2012 survey conducted by Australian Education International, Australia was shown to be conducive for international students: some 87% were satisfied or very satisfied with their overall experience and 88% were satisfied or very satisfied with support services.

The study also revealed a trend on the nationality of international students coming to Australia. The top three countries were China, India and South Korea. Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Brazil, Nepal and Pakistan were also popular sources of international students.

“On most indicators, Australia ranks above international benchmarks,” said Belinda Robinson, Chief Executive of Universities Australia. The country competes with the western providers of quality education, accepting hundred of thousands of international students per year and producing approximately 2.5 million graduates who held a student visa in Australia.

Benefits of international education

The importance of international education for Australia extends beyond the revenues generated from student visa holders. For the most part, international education fosters cultural exchange between Australia and the migrating students and their visiting families. Students build relationships on a small scale, and on a global scale, Australia’s support for international education is evidenced in its reputation as a centre for learning, research and innovation.

Additionally, education providers that participate in the student visa schemes are able to generate funds for its development, thereby allowing them to improve facilities and services. Graduate students become part of the local workforce and become great employees in Australian businesses because they know the country’s culture and language; in short, they know Australia. When they return to their home countries, they can apply their education and acquired culture to their everyday lives and jobs, which they can use to establish better systems, reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development.

International education also provides an additional benefit to Australia. For example, diplomatic ties are improved through education both on a scientific and cultural level.

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