A strong Australian dollar has resulted in a drop in international student visa applications and the Australian government is taking initiatives to woo students, said Chris Evans, Australian Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace relations.
Speaking after presenting the Australian Alumni Excellence Awards 2011 on Wednesday, Evans said the rise in the Australian dollar has resulted in Indian students preferring a US degree that has become cheaper with the falling US dollar.
He said that while there has been a drop in vocational education, the same could not be said about the tertiary education as the applications were yet to be processed.
He also said Australia was preferring more of Indian students from south than north as the quality of education was good here. “We want genuine students and after the visa scam the thrust is now on the south. We have also made changes in visa arrangements to put an end to such scams,” he said.
At present, Australia is taking initiative to woo Indian students in taking up vocational courses by offering joint degrees besides involving the companies.
“Now the focus is on training students in India; how we could offer degrees to all the Indian students. So, we have tied up with the Indian universities here,” he said.
He also said that the Australia-India Education Council was formed to encourage linkages at institution, industry and government levels. Australia has commissioned a review of the student visa programme, headed by Ex-minister Michael Knight, who visited Bangalore in March, he added. A book ‘Endeavours of Excellence’ was also launched.