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1345.4 - SA Stats, Dec 2009  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 22/12/2009   
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FEATURE ARTICLE: INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA


INTRODUCTION

Transnational education is a growing phenomenon and in 2007 the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimated that there were more than 3 million tertiary students enrolled outside of their country of citizenship (OECD 2009). South Australia has become a popular destination for international students and they are making a significant economic contribution to the economy. In order to capitalise on these economic benefits, South Australia has set itself the target of doubling its share of the total number of overseas students in Australia by 2014 (South Australia's Strategic Plan 2007).

This article looks at the number of international student enrolments in South Australia and presents data on where the students come from. Data is also presented on education export income for South Australia followed by an analysis of the changes in international student enrolments across a range of education sectors. Comparisons are made with Australian estimates. Data for this article have been sourced from ABS International Trade in Services by Country, by State and by Detailed Services Category, Calendar Year 2008 (cat. no. 5368.0.55.004) and Australian Education International statistics covering the calendar years 2002 to 2008 and year-to-date statistics for 2009.


NUMBER OF ENROLMENTS

Australian Education International (AEI) defines international students as full-fee paying students studying in Australia on a student visa. This definition does not include New Zealand citizens as they do not require a student visa to study in Australia. Enrolment data compiled by AEI counts actual course enrolments and should not been taken to represent the number of overseas students in Australia or the number of student visas issued. For example, a student enrolled in both the higher education and vocational sectors will have both enrolments counted.

The total number of international student enrolments in Australia rose from 274,887 in 2002 to 543,898 in 2008 representing an increase of 97.9% over the period. Over the same period, international student enrolments in South Australia more than doubled from 11,112 to 27,967 resulting in growth of 151.7%; the largest of any state or territory. The second largest percentage increase occurred in Victoria with 117.1% (87,192 enrolments) followed by New South Wales with 95.7% (105,324 enrolments).

CHANGE IN INTERNATIONAL STUDENT ENROLMENTS - 2002-2008
Graph: CHANGE IN INTERNATIONAL STUDENT ENROLMENTS—2002-2008


As can be seen from the graph below, South Australia's share of international student enrolments in Australia increased markedly between 2002 and 2006 rising from 4.0% to 5.4%. Following a fall in market share in 2007 and minimal growth in 2008, year-to-date data from AEI for 2009 indicates the number of international student enrolments for this year (32,624 enrolments) has already exceeded the result for 2008 (27,967). As a result, South Australia's estimated share of international student enrolments in Australia for 2009 is about 5.3%.

PROPORTION OF INTERNATIONAL STUDENT ENROLMENTS (a), South Australia
Graph: PROPORTION OF INTERNATIONAL STUDENT ENROLMENTS (a), South Australia



WHERE DO THE STUDENTS COME FROM?

Asia is Australia's largest source of international students with almost one quarter (23.4%) of 2008 enrolments attributable to students from China and 17.4% to students from India. In South Australia enrolments by students from China and India represented 34.4% and 16.9% of total enrolments respectively (AEI 2008).

INTERNATIONAL STUDENT ENROLMENTS, Top 10 Nationalities - 2008
Graph: INTERNATIONAL STUDENT ENROLMENTS, Top 10 Nationalities—2008



EDUCATION EXPORT INCOME

Education services are currently the nation’s third and South Australia’s fourth largest export (AEI 2008). In 2008 the export of education services contributed $15 billion to the Australian economy; more than double (144.7%) the estimate reported in 2002 ($6.1 billion). It should be noted that this estimate includes income generated by students from New Zealand although students from New Zealand are not included in the enrolment numbers. In 2008 the contribution made to education export income by students from New Zealand was $119m. Over the same period, export income generated by the provision of education services in South Australia grew from $294 million to $805 million (an increase of 173.8%) with the latter representing 5.4% of export income from all onshore international students in 2008. Victoria (180.1%) was the only state or territory to record a greater percentage increase in education export income than South Australia over the period 2002-2008.

EDUCATION EXPORT INCOME - 2002 and 2008
Graph: EDUCATION EXPORT INCOME—2002 and 2008



EDUCATION SECTOR

Australian Education International classifies international students into five sectors. These are:
  • Higher Education- undergraduate and postgraduate university students
  • Vocational - Technical and Further Education (TAFE) and related institute students
  • School - kindergarten, primary, secondary (junior and senior) students
  • English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) - English language intensive students.
  • Other - courses outside the above categories, e.g. foundation courses, non-award and enabling courses.

In 2008 Higher Education comprised the largest sector of education for international student enrolments in Australia with 182,770 enrolments (33.6%) followed by Vocational Education with 175,461 enrolments (32.3%) and ELICOS 125,727 enrolments (23.1%). By comparison, Higher Education courses attracted a greater proportion of enrolments in South Australia with 43.5% of the state's 27,967 international student enrolments occurring in this sector. ELICOS and Vocational study attracted 19.9% (5,568 enrolments) and 18.6% (5,209 enrolments) respectively.

PROPORTION OF EDUCATION SECTOR - 2008
Graph: PROPORTION OF EDUCATION SECTOR—2008



CHANGES IN EDUCATION SECTOR

Nationally, between 2002 and 2008 Vocational Education recorded the largest change in international student enrolments of any education sector increasing from 53,923 to 175,461. As a result of this increase, the proportion of enrolments in the Vocational Education sector rose from 19.6% in 2002 to 32.3% in 2008. Higher education enrolments rose from 115,893 to 182,770. Despite this increase, the proportion of all enrolments attributable to this sector fell from 42.2% in 2002 to 33.6% in 2008. The number of enrolments in the ELICOS courses more than doubled over this period (58,456 to 125,727); however, the sector's share of all enrolments rose slightly from 21.3% to 23.1%.

PROPORTION OF EDUCATION SECTOR, Australia
Graph: PROPORTION OF EDUCATION SECTOR, Australia


In South Australia the Vocational Education sector also recorded the largest change in international student enrolments between 2002 and 2008, rising from 1,381 to 5,209 (12.4% to 18.6%). ELICOS increased its share from 2,048 to 5,209 enrolments (18.4% to 19.9%). Vocational Education and ELICOS were the only sectors of education to increase their share of the international student enrolments. Despite its share slightly falling from 45.2% to 43.5% over the 2002 to 2008 period, the Higher Education sector remains the dominant education sector in South Australia.

PROPORTION OF EDUCATION SECTOR, South Australia
Graph: PROPORTION OF EDUCATION SECTOR, South Australia


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SUMMARY

The number of international student enrolments has greatly increased in South Australia and Australia in recent years. In South Australia international student enrolments have more than doubled over the 2002 to 2008 period, making it the largest proportional increase of any state or territory. South Australia's share of international student enrolments in Australia was 5.3% in 2009. The South Australian Government is aiming to increase this share to 9% by 2014 (South Australia's Strategic Plan 2007). Higher Education was the largest sector of education for international students studying in South Australia in 2008, although there has been a significant growth in the Vocational Education and ELICOS sectors.

The growth in the number of international students studying in South Australia has led to an increase in education export income. Over the period 2002 to 2008, education export income more than doubled for South Australia and Australia.


REFERENCES

ABS 2008 International Trade in Services by Country, by State and by Detailed Services Category, Calendar Year 2008 (cat no. 5368.055.004)

Australian Education International, 2002 to 2008: International Student Enrolments in Australia by State/Territory and Major Sector,

Government of South Australia, South Australia's Strategic Plan 2007

OECD 2009, Education at a Glance: OECD Indicators 2009

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