Melbourne, May 7 (ANI): Overseas students continue to defy economic downturn to come to Australia.
In one of the few bright spots for the Australian economy, universities set another record with a 21.7 per cent growth in new students in March, driven by a 40 per cent leap in enrolments by Indian students and a 19.6 per cent jump among Chinese students.
Australia's 15.5 billion dollar export education boom continues to defy the global recession, showing record annual growth of 20.8 per cent in the number of international students in universities and vocational colleges for the key March enrolment period, reports The Australian.
However, that does not take away the fact that universities have suffered a calamitous 800 million dollar loss in investment income since world finance markets collapsed last September, with leading institutions the University of Melbourne and the University of NSW yesterday revealing they had been ravaged by the financial crisis.
Universities Australia chief executive Glenn Withers told The Australian yesterday that vice-chancellors had been "worried" that overseas demand would be down as the recession hit the finances of Asian families.
"(But) there is a flight to security through tertiary training in uncertain times -- both domestically and globally," Dr Withers said.
He attributed the strong result to the quality of Australian education, and an even greater priority that Asian families, traditionally great investors in their children's education, were making in education in uncertain times.
A spokeswoman for Education Minister Julia Gillard said yesterday that the figures were "certainly encouraging for the sector in these difficult economic times and show the strength of the sector".(ANI)