Figures for international student enrolments in Australia for the year to April 2011 have shown a 9.3% decline on the same period in 2010, according to figures released by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. 


The figures show there were 147,035 commencements in YTD April 2011, down 6.1% compared the same period in 2010. This contrasts with an average YTD April growth rate for commencements since 2002 of 6.8% per year.


The Higher Education sector was ranked first by  volume of enrolments,  with a 2.7% growth in enrolments. Thetwo largest source countries were China (39.5%) and Malaysia (8.0%).  “Management and Commerce” was the most popular broad field of education with 49.6% of enrolments. The next most popular fields were “Engineering and Related Technologies” and “Health” with 9.0% and 8.0% of enrolments respectively. In YTD April 2011, enrolments and commencements at the under-graduate level of study were up by 6.5% and 6.6% respectively on YTD April 2010. Post-graduate research enrolments and commencements were up by 13.7% and 3.4% respectively over the same period.


The Vocational Education and Training sector (VET) fell by 20.0% and 4.3% respectively compared with the same period in 2010. India had the largest share of total enrolments (33.4%) and of total commencements (27.4%). China was the next largest source country by enrolments with 10.9%, followed by Thailand with 6.5%. The English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) sector saw a decline in enrolments of 21.0% and commencements declined by 18.4% compared with the same period in 2010. China was the largest ELICOS market with a 29.8% share of enrolments and 27.7% of commencements. Chinese enrolments and commencements declined, by 25.5% and 23.8% respectively.


Enrolments in the Schools sector declined by 14.2% and commencements by 19.4% in the reporting period. Asia contributed 88.9% of enrolments and 82.2% of commencements. China and the Republic of Korea were the two largest source countries in the sector, accounting for 44.1% and 15.3% of enrolments respectively. However, commencements from both source countries at YTD April 2011 declined; China by 22.8% and the Republic of Korea by 25.8%.


Enrolments in courses such as exchange and foundation programs, included in the Other sector declined by 8.3%. The sector also experienced an 8.9% decline in commencements in the reference period.


The DEEWR report, Monthly Summary of International Student Enrolment Data – YTD April 2011 is available here.