Australia is currently the third most popular destination for international students in the English-speaking world, behind the United States and the UK. It is an amazing country for international students who want to experience its tertiary education system.
Education is Australia’s third largest export, and many international students choose to study there because of the cultural diversity, friendly natives, and high quality of education.
According to the federal Department of Education and Training, a few 800,000 students came to study in Australia in 2017, which including at both school and higher education institutions.
Director of the ASEAN Focus Group Michael Fay said, “One of the key topics is how Australia can switch from its focus on China towards ASEAN member countries”.
“For some of the Australian universities, 40 percent of their international students come from China.” “Some of their education providers are very, very reliant on the Chinese market.”
“So if anything happens to that Chinese market, such as with a downturn in the economy or problems with visas, Australia would be very exposed.”
Huge demand result of China’s rise
Professor Anthony Welch from the school of education at the University of Sydney said there had been a huge demand from China.
“I think China’s dramatic rise over recent years has taken the world by storm. So it is understandable there has been a rise in Chinese students, but it has been at the neglect of other neighbors,” Professor Welch said.
“There are good reasons for us to strengthen our relations with ASEAN nations anyway, including education.
“There are also broader geopolitical reasons for Australia to shift its focus slightly.”
‘Reliance is the wrong way of looking at it’
The chief executive of Universities Australia, Belinda Robinson, said reliance was the wrong word when it came to China as a source country for international students.
Belinda Robinson said, “I think reliance is the wrong way of looking at it. What Australian universities do is provide a really high-quality education to international students who want to come to study”.
“It is no surprise that around 30 percent on average of all international students are Chinese with a population of 1.4 billion people, but Australia does have 70 percent from other countries, including around 20 percent from ASEAN countries.”
This discussion is also set to improve mobility for students between Australia and ASEAN countries and to make English as the official language of Asian.