“Education export income declined in all sectors in 2020. VET was the only sector with results comparable to 2019 levels, decreasing by just 1.3%,” said the ABS of the findings.
“Higher education generated two thirds of the international education export income (accounting for $21.1bn dollars), despite a 24% reduction.”
“Higher education generated two thirds of the international education export income, despite a 24% reduction”
English language courses and non-award courses saw income drops of 49% and 62% respectively.
With the country having closed its borders to international students shortly after the outbreak of the pandemic, only one of its top ten markets, The Philippines, experienced growth, its volume increasing by $84 million.
Some growth was also seen in markets in Bhutan (up $17m), Cambodia (up $7m), Myanmar (up $8m) and Argentina (up $5m).
Across Australia, education export earnings decreased in all states except for the Northern Territory, which saw a 6% increase. The largest drops were seen in the Australian Capital Territory (-30%), Victoria (-23%), New South Wales and Queensland (both -21%), and Tasmania (-20%).
Although plans are being made for the return of some international students, so far this year, the drop in numbers has continued. According to the Department of Education, Skills and Employment, year to date data covering up to April this year showed that among international students “total enrolments decreased by 17%, while commencements decreased by 29.8%”.
“All sectors experienced declines in commencements and enrolments,” the department noted.
“The top 25 markets by enrolments all experienced declines, [and] China, India and Nepal accounted for half (54.5%) of all enrolments.”