Melbourne: Even while the number of international students coming to Australia continues to fall, Malaysia has replaced India as the second largest source of students in the field of Higher Education.
As a result, the losses suffered by the Australia international education sector have ballooned to $2 billion in the last one year.
While China has maintained its top position as the source country (40 per cent), Malaysia is now on the number two position with a distant 7.5 per cent. Indian contribution, according to the September month figures made available by Australian Education International, has plummeted further in both Higher Education and Vocational Training segments.
A year earlier while China was responsible for 27 per cent of international students enrolling in Australian university for Higher Education courses, the Indian share was 15 per cent.
The overall fall in international students' numbers coming to Australia, as compared to figures exactly one year back, is 9.4 per cent.
While often exaggerated news reports about the attacks on Indian students Down Under have contributed to the dwindling numbers, the so-called integrity measures adopted by the Australian immigration authorities have also led to students being refused visas to study in Australian universities and other higher education institutes.
Australian vocational training institutes have suffered the most as most of the students coming from India were enrolling in 'Trade' courses like cookery, hairdressing, automotive engineering, etc. A year back, India was the top source for Vocational Training students accounting for 32.1 per cent enrollments.
The decline in enrollment for Australian Vocational Training courses has been the steepest of all as 17.5 per cent less enrollments were recorded in as compared to September 2010.
'The number of Indian students enrolling in courses like cookery and hairdressing is huge by any standard, leading to closure of many institutes here in Australia,' a Melbourne-based vocational trainer Deepak Chopra told IANS.
Overall, India continues to cling to the second position as the source country with 12.8 per cent of overall figure (519,025). China has also maintained the top position by sending 28.9 per cent of the total number of international students' enrollments in Australian institutes.
The Australian government is making efforts to check the decline as reforms based on 'Knight Review' have been approved and would come into force by the middle of next year.
'Our international education sector is world class, and the reforms announced today will help entrench Australia as a preferred destination for international students,' Senator Chris Evans Minister of Tertiary Education had earlier said in a media release.
'The reforms will assist in ensuring Australia remains an attractive study option and will offer practical support for international education providers that have been under pressure as a result of the high Australian dollar,' Senator Evans added.