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Aus: international education exports surge to $21.8bn

Education exports contributed A$21.8bn to the Australian economy in 2016, swelling by 17% compared to the previous year, according to an ABS services credit report. The surge marks the sector’s fourth consecutive year of export growth, off the back of increased student enrolments.

Sydney Opera House, AustraliaThe value of Australia's international exports grew for the fourth consecutive year in 2016. Photo: Flickr/Michael McDonough.

“When you consider that we’re an English-speaking nation, we’re close to Asia, and Australia’s excellent reputation, this growth may not surprise"

Both the export revenue and student enrolments, which Department of Education and Training data shows totalled more than 700,000 in the year to November 2016, surpassed record highs.

“There is strong global demand for Australian education and training and we are helping providers to pursue opportunities”

“There is strong global demand for Australian education and training and we are helping Australian providers to pursue opportunities,” Steven Ciobo, minister for trade, tourism and investment, said in a statement.

Universities and vocational providers saw the biggest gains in enrolment numbers, surpassing their totals for the whole of 2015 by July and September 2016 respectively.

While the new ABS data does not include a breakdown of the economic contribution by sector, the enrolment figures are in line with a more detailed report released late last year on the 2015/16 financial impact of each sector.

“When you consider that we’re an English-speaking nation, we’re close to Asia, we’ve had a lower Australian dollar and, of course, Australia’s excellent reputation for high-quality university education, this growth may not surprise,” said Universities Australia chief executive Belinda Robinson.

Robinson told The PIE News she anticipated universities will continue to make “a powerful case” to international students on the benefits of studying in Australia.

The education and training minister, Simon Birmingham, said in a statement that the government’s National Strategy for International Education 2025 would help Australia build upon its recent success.

“These strategies are a framework for cooperation between governments, education providers and businesses. They create opportunities for Australian providers and will help to sustainably grow the sector over the coming decade,” he said.

With current enrolments data representing the year to November, it is expected DET’s total 2016 enrolments figures will see further improvements on 2015 figures.

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