So much for the Chinese student collapse

Australia’s booming pre-COVID international education industry was built on the back of Chinese students:

Australian international student exports

China is Australia’s most lucrative student market.

Before COVID hit, Australian universities had the highest concentration of Chinese students in the developed world, with around one in nine students at Australian universities Chinese in 2017:

Chinese students at Australian universities

Australian universities’ concentration of Chinese students was extreme.

Over the past 18 months, we have witnessed dire warnings from the edu-migration industry that the lucrative Chinese student market was collapsing. Not so according to new data from the federal government, with enrolments down only 2%:

Despite dire predictions of international students abandoning Australia in preference for Northern Hemisphere institutions, total Chinese university enrolments as of July, which takes in second semester, were 140,786, just 2 per cent lower than 2020.

Commencing students, almost all of which will be studying online from their homes, were up 0.3 per cent on 2020, at 40,224, according to federal government data.

However, a more nuanced picture emerges if the Group of Eight universities are factored into the equation. It reveals that Chinese enrolments are up by 6.4 per cent to 99,091 compared to July 2020 with new enrolments up by 17 per cent to 29,015 compared to the same time last year…

Among the non-Go8, an entirely different state of play can be seen. Total enrolments in non-Go8 universities have now fallen by 18 per cent (41,965 compared to 50,646) and commencing student enrolments have fallen by 27 per cent to 15,388…

Phil Honeywood, chief executive of the International Education Association of Australia, said the growing gap between Chinese enrolments in Go8s and the rest could be explained by their preference for a degree from a prestige brand and the fact they aren’t motivated by permanent residency pathways, unlike many Indian and Nepalese students.

My view is that a marked reduction in Chinese students studying at our universities would be a welcome development.

Excessive numbers of Chinese students at our universities undermined the education system and the national interest via:

  • Repeated scandals whereby free speech was violently suppressed (e.g. the Drew Pavlou affair).
  • Universities aiding and abetting CCP persecution via intellectual property deals.
  • Academics being captured via “global talent” schemes that double their incomes.
  • Student unions being turned into Chinese lobbies and Confucious Institutes pumping propaganda into coursework.
  • Pedagogical standards being smashed in order to teach and pass sub-standard, non-English speakers.

These developments were disastrous for the long-run productivity and prosperity of Australia, which hinges upon quality education.

Nor should Australia’s universities drop standards further to entice students from India and Nepal seeking permanent residency. As noted by The Australian’s higher education shill, Tim Dodd:

“Too many of the expanding numbers of students from India and the sub continent were in low quality, generic business courses, and hoping for permanent residency without having in-demand skills”.

Instead, Australia’s international education system should target a smaller intake of higher quality students via:

  1. Raising entry standards (particularly English-language proficiency);
  2. Raising financial requirements needed to enter Australia; and
  3. Removing the link between studying, work rights and permanent residency.

These reforms would lift student quality, would raise genuine export revenues per student, would remove competition in the jobs market, and would lower enrolment numbers to sensible and sustainable levels that are more in line with international norms.

They would also help to improve teaching standards and the experience for domestic students, which should be our universities’ number one priority.

In short, international education needs to become a genuine export industry rather than a people importing immigration industry.

We must restore Australia’s universities back to being about ‘higher learning’ rather than ‘higher earning’.

Unconventional Economist
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  1. Phil Honeywood, chief executive of the International Education Association of Australia, said the growing gap between Chinese enrolments in Go8s and the rest could be explained by their preference for a degree from a prestige brand and the fact they aren’t motivated by permanent residency pathways, unlike many Indian and Nepalese students.

    Explain this tortured logic.Then remove ‘residency pathway’ altogether and see what happens.

  2. FDA Banned Boosters

    We should be nicer to the Chinese they really are better than us in every way. We don’t really have the capacity to make anything more complicated than a Subway footlong but the Chinese in the space of a few decades are the manufacturing base for the world, not just making trinkets but phones, cars, electronics, basically any kind of manufactured good you can think of. And really good quality too these days nothing to complain about with Chinese products.

    Plus look at their COVID response compared to Australia an isolated island with one of the lowest population densities on the planet. Still f***ed it up LOL now going the US and UK route where we condemn hundreds of thousands to death over the coming years. You’d expect the communist nation to sacrifice the weakest for the greater good, but no that’s how the western democracies have looked COVID in the eye.

    • It IS the stronger culture. Say what you want about Chinamen, at the end of the day, they do everything to give their children a better life. We busy ourselves selling this country out from under our kids. Every outs-sized caravan driven by a bloated “grey nomad” represent a ladder pulled up after them.

    • This chart looks nicer No.8

      MB is saying the enrollments are still too high and I wonder if the Rudd prediction that AUKUS will help reduce the Chinese student intake more quickly will come to pass. There is an obvious difference between what Beijing says and what Chinese people aspire to.

      Another comment Kevin made is “It is becoming increasingly important that in terms of the quality of the experience of individual foreign students studying in Australia, that it is improved, that students are given the opportunity to engage and relate in an almost semi-structured way with Australian families so that their time in this country is genuinely a positive one.” This would seem impossible with such high levels of foreign student enrollments.

  3. The Traveling Wilbur 🙉🙈🙊

    So, those “low quality, generic business courses” that don’t lead to developing “in-demand skills” should be reserved for whom, exactly?

    Ex-Ford and Holden employees?

  4. ‘Commencing students, almost all of *which* will be studying online from their homes’
    Surely govt workers in the education section know to refer to humans – even students – as who/whom.

  5. They obviously haven’t yet heard about the new agricultural visa. They’ll be throwing away their books and heading to the fields in no time.

    • Make it a 3 year PR funnel and a whole lot of them will.

      Pay $$$ to “study” at an Australian university, work most of that time for $10/hr and get a PR after another 3 or 4 years work beyond your degree, OR get paid $10/hr while you work on a farm for 3 years and get the PR at the end.

      Half the time, less than half the effort. I know which I’d choose.

      If any of them actually want an AU degree they can obtain citizenship (nice bolthole to hide money from the CCP) and then use HECS. I doubt many would bother.