Australian educationists expect big slide in enrollment of Indians

Melbourne University vice-chancellor Glyn Davis said there were early indications of a dramatic fall in the applications from Indians. The university is considered to be one of the top educational institutions in the country.

"We'll know in the next couple of weeks what it means, but I'm anticipating a quite sharp fall in the number of Indian students who elect to come to
Australia," Davis said.

Similar sentiments were voiced by top officials of RMIT and Victoria University, who reported early signs of a drop in demand and both attributed the slip to adverse reporting about students' safety Down Under.

However, early reports of a decrease are not supported by official data and student visa applications, which both show growth to June, according to 'The Age' report that on contrary reported decline in applications.

said a reduction in Indian students was a "great loss" for Australia.

"Many of them do choose to stay and contribute to our nation after they graduate, so to lose that cohort is really distressing. To lose it because of such unscrupulous behaviour as is being reported would be particularly tragic," he said.

While according to Davis, Melbourne University was not affected as it had only a modest number of Indian students at 250, mostly post-graduate students, it was reported that RMIT for which India was a fourth biggest international market and had 700 students enrolled from India could feel the brunt.

RMIT's pro vice-chancellor international and development Madeleine Reeve said, "anecdotally our agents in
India are telling us there has been a reduction in demand, but how this will translate for 2010, we just have to wait and see."

Chris Downes, the acting vice-president, international, of Victoria University, said fewer students recruited in India had accepted places, with 80 acceptances in semester two this year compared to 109 acceptances for the same semester last year — a drop of 27 per cent.

"This is in line with trends being reported by comparable universities and can be attributed to the negative Indian media reports about student safety in
Australia over the past few months," he said, adding "We anticipate that acceptances from India will recover during 2010."

Meanwhile, the most recent official data from Australian Education International -- the international arm of the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations -- shows strong growth in enrollments, particularly in the vocational education and training sector.



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