Posts in Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore will be cut, ending the connection between Australian Education International‘s (AEI) representatives and opportunities to expand the education industry in those countries.
“It sends a crucial message to Asian partner countries that we are not seeing education as a priority”
A spokesman for Tertiary Education Minister, Chris Bowen, said the department had made the decision after it “conducted a review of the offshore counsellor network with the aim of ensuring the most efficient use of resources”.
Phil Honeywood, executive director of the International Education Association of Australia (IEAA) has condemned the move at a time when educators are trying to engage more with Asian partners.
“It sends a crucial message to Asian partner countries that we are not seeing education as a priority,” he said.
While the closures will affect AEI’s ability to reach out to those markets, posts in top Asian resource countries including China, the Republic of Korea, Vietnam and Malaysia remain open.
Year on year enrolments across all sectors from the affected countries have gradually fallen since 2009. In 2012 there were 9,388 students study in Australia from Singapore, 3,592 from Hong Kong, 21,612 from Thailand and 7,578 from Taiwan.