How Australia’s International Education Market Share is Shrinking Fast?
Australia has always been a significant location on the global education map. However, lately the pandemic and subsequent closure of international and regional borders caused the number of international students to suffer greatly. However, the numbers haven’t plummeted on account of the pandemic alone. A range of other concerns that continue to impact and call for stronger policies safeguarding the interest of international and domestic students seem to be the need.
Numbers Speak for Themselves – The Impact of the Pandemic
According to a chart from the IDP Connect report for ANU, Australia’s market share has dropped to 11.74 per cent from over 18 per cent a couple of years ago. The country’s competitors, the US, Canada and UK, have either increased their share or have remained stable. As the Australian winter is about to finish and vaccination rates also increase, it is expected that existing regional outbreaks of the pandemic will settle. However, that doesn’t necessarily encourage the assumption that international students will immediately choose Australia once the country opens its frontiers.
Additionally, a few surveys have also marked students’ perception of how countries have handled the pandemic as a factor that drives them to or away from a particular country. Recent research this week showcased students’ sentiment about Australia as a destination is declining. According to the IDP Connect Crossroads research, 36 per cent of surveyed students are likely to change the destination if it means they can start face-to-face teaching as in the pre-pandemic era.
Other Reasons Affecting the Market Share
In addition to the pandemic, there exist other factors exhibiting a worrying trend in Australia’s student welfare and being a welcoming destination. A continuous decline is being seen across all parameters that include student and citizen safety, response to Coronavirus, and international student policies that include post-study work visas as well.
Tackling these Problems
Australian universities must develop and communicate a much stronger focus on providing a world-class student experience, building cohesion for international students across various university settings to address problems such as loneliness, racism, and high-stress levels. Besides, it would help tackle the recently documented political harassment of some international students. It wouldn’t just benefit international students but prove advantageous for the domestic ones also.
According to research, social relationships help prevent psychological distress for university students. Further, developing social cohesion fosters connected communities and shared values. All of it results in creating a sense of belonging, shared purpose, and helps reduce students’ loneliness.
Moreover, universities can help international students connect with local ones and the communities. Educators and on-campus services must strategize to strengthen the social setting within which students live and learn. These strategies and services must be accessible to everyone and resonate with their needs on the cultural front as well.
In a nutshell, with the opening of international borders, Australian universities must show their commitment to providing a world-class student experience to international students. This approach is crucial to foster post-pandemic recovery.