India students at University of Wollongong, New South Wales
Indian students are once again flocking to Australia. While the United States continues to be the number one choice for Indian students, Australia is clearly the second most popular destination.
The UK is slipping as an education destination of choice for Indian students because of high visa fees and post-education employment restrictions.
The Australian government's campaign to lure Indian students for higher studies is bearing fruit as nearly 80,000 of them enrolled in various education and training courses in 2016. The surge followed a slump brought about reports of racial attacks on Indian students and others in Australia.
A record number of 78,424 students from India enrolled in Australia in 2016. This represents an increase of 8.9 per cent on 2015 and is second only to China. The fascination of Indian students for vocational training courses continued for another year as students from the country accounted for 14.7 per cent enrollments in the sector.
Melbourne has always attracted the bulk of Indian students and 2016 was no exception as 34,347 enrolled in various Victorian institutes. New South Wales (which has Sydney as its state capital) was number two on the list as 18,900 Indian students enrolled there in 2016.
Thanks to another 'gangbuster' year, international education has once again regained its position as the third largest export sector. International students generated more than A$21 billion (Rs 1 trillion) of economic activity in Australia.
With the US and UK occupying the top two positions, Australia is ranked third as the favourite destination for international students. Australian universities and vocational training institutes have experienced another bumper year with more than half a million international students choosing to study Down Under. he numbers are likely to increase exponentially in the coming months as, according to some media reports, international students are beginning to shun the US because of the perceived anti-immigrant policies of President Donald Trump.
"With record student numbers and record student satisfaction, 2016 was a 'gangbuster' year for international education in Australia and the vital role it plays in our national economic and social prosperity," Australia's Federal Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said.
If some media reports are to be believed, the revenue generated by international education may hit a new high in 2017 as, thanks to President Trump's contentious policies, more international students would pack their bags and move to Australia.
(Paritosh Parasher is a senior journalist of Indian origin. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)