The Australian Strategy for Higher Education 2021–30 has recommended diversification of international student intake.
Many academics have also been calling for a diversification of migration away from China towards other countries.
India that makes up 21 per cent of international student entries into Australia has emerged as a potentially important source of students in the future.
However, Lowy Institutes’ recent study of Indian sentiment towards education showcases a decline in Australia.
The institute conducted a study that used AI-powered strategic market research techniques to measure public sentiment towards societal trends. They used a large English language data pool of all open-access Internet sources from India.
The aim was to find out what the Indians think about education in Australia and other key competitor countries to whom take up education services – the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.
According to the survey, “Indian interest in Australia as an education destination has worsened significantly since November 2020.”
The Indian students sentiment shifted significantly towards dominant and strong negative, including emotions of strong dislike and anger and a reduction in expectation towards Australia as a destination for education.
“This signals that demand for Australia has undeniably waned, presenting a clear and present risk to the recovery of the Indian international student market in the coming year.”
The survey attribute this downturn in sentiment to:
- the ban on Indian Australian arrivals in late April 2021;
- a deep concern about Australians declining educational performance generally;
- concern about Australian education system including educational inequality between public and private, regional, remote and urban and policy and funding issues; and
- concern about wage theft that students believe has worsened since Covid-19.
As per the survey and reasons given for decline, it clearly shows that Indian international students are aware consumers of information about Australia.
It is a well-known fact that Indian students choose to study in Australia as they are highly interested in the nation as a migration destination.
So, these findings should be of concern to government officials, policy-makers, and senior management of universities who wish to retain the source of highly diversified and skilled migrants flow to Australia.