The Australian Trade and Investment Commission’s Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner, Monica Kennedy, has noted a growing trend of Indian women choosing Australia for their studies. She announced an upcoming education fair to be held at Taj MG Road from 1.30 pm to 6.30 pm on September 11, expressing delight in the increasing number of female students opting for Australian education. This rise is seen as a testament to Australia’s reputation as a secure, hospitable, and supportive academic destination.
According to data provided, the percentage of Indian women pursuing higher education in Australia increased from 39% in 2019-20 to 45% in 2021-22, dipped to 41% the following year, and has remained steady at 41% this year. These statistics pertain solely to higher education and do not include other educational streams such as vocational training, which constitutes 33% of the Australian education sector.
Furthermore, there is a noticeable surge in interest in undergraduate (UG) education. In 2014-15, undergraduate students comprised 20% of the Indian student cohort in Australia, while postgraduate (PG) students made up the remaining 80%. In 2022, these figures shifted to 30% (UG) and 70% (PG) respectively.
Monica Kennedy highlighted that 70,231 Indian students enrolled in Australian campuses last year, bringing the total number of Indian students in Australia to 100,302. This year, approximately 47,751 students have joined during the first intake, indicating that this year’s numbers are likely to surpass the previous year’s counts. Kennedy noted that Australia has regained its status as the top choice for students and is no longer viewed as a secondary option.
Addressing visa concerns, Monica Kennedy assured that these issues have been resolved, and Australia now boasts one of the fastest visa issuance processes, with full visa processing taking only 10 days.
Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, there remains a robust demand for overseas education, particularly in Australia. The number of Indian students pursuing higher education in Australia has exceeded pre-pandemic levels in the current year.
Monica Kennedy mentioned that the Australian Department of Home Affairs granted 382,000 student visas between July 2022 and February 2023, reflecting a substantial 41.3% increase compared to the same period in 2019-2020.
In addition, Kennedy announced a ‘Study Australia Roadshow’ scheduled for September 12 during a press conference, emphasising the increasing aspirations of Indian students for international degrees, Australia’s student and migrant-friendly policies, world-class universities, and post-study work opportunities.
She noted that the Australian government recently released a list of courses focused on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and health, areas where there is a skills gap in Australia. Students opting for these courses are eligible to stay an additional two years for post-study work.
This program allows undergraduate students to stay up to 4 years (including two years post-study), 5 years for Masters, and 6 years for doctoral programs.
Kennedy also mentioned that the government is implementing various measures, including reviewing Australia’s migration Act and making changes to post-study work policies.
Highlighting the strong India-Australia relationship, Kennedy mentioned the signing of a mechanism for the Mutual Recognition of Qualifications between Australia and India in March and approval for an Australian university to establish a foreign campus in India. This reflects mutual respect for each other’s systems and a desire to enhance student mobility across borders.
Earlier this year, the Indian government permitted Australia’s Deakin University and the University of Wollongong to establish campuses in GIFT City, Gujarat, marking a significant development in the bilateral relationship.
Over the course of five years, spanning from 2017 to 2022, an astounding 1.3 million Indian students ventured abroad to pursue higher education, as per data from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). This data also unveiled that Indian students have spread their academic pursuits across 79 different countries worldwide. The top five preferred destinations for Indian scholars are the United States, Canada, the United Arab Emirates, Australia, and Saudi Arabia.