Despite screaming headlines about the violence against the international students in Australia, as well as the country’s low quality courses few months back, Australia has been rated safer for study, as compared to the UK and the US. But, as far as the quality of education is concerned, it is accepted that Australia lags far behind the UK and the US.
There are certain factors that international students are being attracted to Australia. According to Monash University academic Bob Birrell, Indian students consider Australia as one of their prime study destinations because they expect to get permanent residency easily. Molly Yang, a student of Central Queensland University said that many of the students in her 2007 batch opted to migrate to Australia, because they all had the same thing in mind, which is future migration.
Indian and Chinese students account for a large percentage of the higher education international enrollments. According to Australian Education International, in May 2008 to May 2009 session, Australia saw an increase of 31 percent in the number of Chinese students getting enrolled in higher education courses. But, the reason behind the flow of international students to Australia is different from the reason as to why students go to the US and Britain for study purpose.
According to a report from London-based Observatory on Borderless Higher Education, the quality of education available in the UK and the US has always been the prime factor that international students migrate to these two destinations for education. A report from the IDP Education, an international recruitment agency said that some 5000 plus students from eight countries also rated Australia behind the UK and the US where the quality of education is concerned.
Thus, overseas students find Australia safer, but do not find it as good as the UK and US when it comes to the quality of education. On the same note, the reputation of Australian universities is also faltering. In 2009, only nine Australian universities made it to the Times Higher Education Supplement’s top 200 list of world universities, as compared to the fourteen universities in 2004. The worst thing is that RMIT and Curtin University which were formerly in the top 100 are nowhere in the top 200 list this year. In 2004 rankings, there were two Australian universities in the top 25, but this year only the Australia National University could make it to the top 25.
It is also found that Australian universities make it easier for international students to get entry to courses with relatively low English scores. Besides, the fact that Australian universities employing overseas recruitment agents (many offering advise about migration) also brings about another controversy that these universities are “offering fast track to residency, not a quality education.”