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For Higher Degrees, More Students Head to Oz
Australia is catching up with U.S., U.K. as destination for international students
Suhit Anantula (internews)     Print Article 
Published 2005-04-26 13:26 (KST)   
Australia is famous for its beaches, sunshine, wineries, festivals, unique animals and a mighty desert. It has always been a favorite travel destination, especially to love-intoxicated honeymooners of the world.

Slowly but surely, another sphere is fast becoming the top export earner for Australia -- education. As students flock to Australia, this new giant industry is fast eclipsing manufacturing as tertiary. The country is climbing the world ladder in terms of its rankings in international education and now stands behind the United States and the United Kingdom.

In India, Australia has just beaten the U.S. and U.K., the earlier favorites, in becoming the top international destination for students.

As the Times of India reported in March:
"Over the years, Australia has become attractive to students in India as more and more persons want to study abroad, but most do not find entry into U.S. or U.K. universities because of a paucity of seats and also because of stricter entrance rules, including visa rules."
In 2004, 21,000 students flew to Australia. The numbers of students flying to the U.S and the U.K. in the same year were comparatively lower at about 17,000 and 15,000, respectively.

In 2003, about 18,000 students enrolled in U.S. universities, 10,000 went to the U.K. and 14,400 students went to Australia. The numbers of students going to Australia was lower than those for the U.S. and the U.K. in previous years.

Asia remains Australia's main source of international students, representing more than three quarters of Australia's overseas student market.

Australian business programs seem to be the most favored for international students.

The international postgraduate student population in Australia excluding Indians is 33,016 and almost 70 percent of international students (22,507) study business courses in Australia. Whereas 35 percent of postgraduate Indian students opted for business courses in Australia.

So how is Australia able to market its business institutions when faced with competition from tougher and more reputed universities in the U.S., U.K. and Asia?


The masterstroke for marketing Australian degrees, including business degrees, is IDP Education Australia, a not-for-profit company owned by Australian universities to promote Australian education globally.

IDP has operated for the last 34 years, providing services through a network of 90 offices and locations in 35 countries. In the past few years IDP has become an aggressive marketer, especially in China and India, the biggest markets for Australian education.

The following services are offered free of cost:
  • Information: On courses and institutions in Australia
  • Counseling: Individual counseling to students and their parents
  • Applications: Assistance in the preparation and submission of applications
  • Forms: Application forms for any course and institute are available free of cost from IDP
  • Application Submissions: Your applications will be submitted to universities directly by IDP, thereby saving the applicant time and costs
  • Visa Submissions: Assistance in the preparation and submission of visa applications. An application through IDP reduces the chances of your visa application being rejected.
  • Pre-departure Seminars
  • Accommodation: Arrangement of accommodation and airport pickup in Australia

    These services make it much easier for the student to apply to study in Australia than in the U.S. or the U.K.

    Visa Policy

    The government of Australia recognizes education as a big export earner. To make it easier for international students it has created a highly transparent visa application policy. It has also tailored its immigration policies in such a way that for most future immigrants an Australian education becomes one of the necessities to fulfill immigration requirements.

    This has driven a lot of students to Australian universities. It has also helped the government recoup a part of their investment in the universities.


    Since Australia needs to compete with the likes of the U.S. and the U.K., the top countries in the world for business degrees, they had adopted the model used successfully by Indian IT and BPO organizations.

    India's reputation for quality was equal to the reputation of Japanese products after World War II. Indians resorted to the ISO9001 quality standards and the Carnegie Mellon's SEI CMM standards for building a reputation for quality services at a fast clip. The Microsofts of the world do not subscribe to these standards but new entrants in the industry need their recognition.

    Australian Business Schools have adopted the European EQUIS accreditation, or the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) standard in the U.S.

    Australia has become an integrated machine in marketing its business courses. In a few years, it may well become a leading contender in the cutthroat world of business education.
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  • Suhit Anantula is a citizen reporter from Australia. He is an Indian student who is currently studying for a Master's in Business Administration at the University of South Australia in Adelaide. You can also follow his journey on his blog aussiemba.blogspot.com.
    ©2005 OhmyNews

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