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Australia observes sharp decline as a Study Abroad destination, especially India: Expert

The epidemic has had a significant impact on international education economies, but some countries are recovering more quickly than others.

Andrew Wharton, client director at IDP Connect, said data analysis over the last two years reveals “a continuous fall in interest in Australia,” adding that Covid-19 had a negative impact on all destination markets. In some areas, such as India, there was a decline in interest in studying in Australia.

“At the time of the pandemic, we saw each of the key destination markets have a decline in demand,” Wharton told Study International. “Other markets, including Canada, the UK, and the US bounced back pretty quickly, within three or four months, but Australia continued to decline,” he added.

Two years ago, Australia accounted for 20% of that market’s demand. According to Wharton, that figure has now dropped to 9%. International students evaluate migration incentives and employment chances when deciding where what, and how to study, according to IDP Connect’s New Horizons report.

“We’ve noticed a dramatic drop in interest from Indian students wishing to study in Australia,” Wharton said, adding that migration and face-to-face learning opportunities are important factors in Indian students’ decision to study overseas.

Indian students struggle with online learning, according to its Crossroads polls, which looked at the attitudes and intentions of international student applicants. Wharton explained, “I think it’s primarily because they didn’t have the hardware and the internet connection to have an enjoyable online learning and satisfying experience. They were doing their courses on mobile phones and with a poor internet connection. So that’s what we’ve seen has happened”.

Considering stringent border closures and an absence of clarity over communication from the federal government about a schedule for their return to Australia, international students in Australia have a bad perception of the country.

These include the endorsement of pilot schemes in New South Wales and Victoria to enable international students’ return to Australia, as well as the authorization of Sinovac and Covishield vaccines from China and India, which may clear the way for Chinese and Indian students to return to Australia. On the other hand, Wharton sees “green shoots of positivity.”

However, he thinks that if Australia can articulate a roadmap for a large-scale return of overseas students, with clear pathways to employment and migration outcomes, the country will be in a strong place to maintain its position as a top study abroad destination.

According to the findings of the New Horizons survey, the majority of respondents i.e. 79% are solely exploring international on-campus choices. The reopening of Australia’s border, according to Wharton, might represent a huge opportunity for the country. In some areas of the economy, Australia experiences talent shortages, and policies might be implemented to help fill those gaps by encouraging international students to study in those sectors.

“One statistic that really struck me that I feel supports that opportunity relates to students who weren’t considering Australia as a destination country, wanting to study science, technology, engineering, math, and allied health — those types of skills shortage subjects,” Wharton said.

“We asked them if Australia brought in migration incentives to study their chosen fields of study, would that bring Australia into their consideration set? And 64% said they would,” he added”. Wharton thinks “migration incentives” could allow Australia to take some ground back and get students who hadn’t otherwise been considering Australia as their study abroad destination.

Migration incentives and post-study job privileges are also key drives for international students, according to their New Horizons report. “If you can give those two items to two students, it might have a huge impact,” he predicts.

Abhishek Shah

I'm a final-year management student at NMIMS, Mumbai.

The power of words and their ability to affect others captivates me that's where my love for writing comes from. Content writing welcomes me with my own mind and gives wings to my thoughts. I'll today and forever love gaining insight by reading and writing and that's the reason I am called the father of scriptwriting in my circle.

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