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In the fourth part of an ongoing series on studying abroad, here's everything you need to know about studying in Australia.
Indian students have been opting to study overseas for decades though their preferred destinations have not remained the same.
First it was the UK and then the US dominated the student numbers.
Between 2005 and 2009, Australia emerged as the preferred destination. Estimates indicate that in 2008-09, Australia issued over 60,000 visas to Indian students.
The situation dramatically changed thereafter.
Media reports on student security issues from Melbourne in 2009, appreciation of the Australian dollar, tightened student visa requirements and an attempt in delinking education and immigration led to a crash in student numbers to about 10 per cent of the previous year.
A fall of 90 per cent overall!
Interestingly, that was the year when the UK lowered its guard, easing the student visa regulations and heavily promoted the post-study-work options.
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Ravi Lochan Singh is MD, Global Reach President, AAERI.
No other field we have seen is so unpredictable and it is clear that the Indian students don't opt for a particular destination simply because they want to study at a particular university.
There are several other parameters such as immigration, ease of visa, post-study work and the costs that are equally important.
New visa and post-study work regulations
During 2010-2011, Australia conducted a major review of its policies (Knight Review) and thereafter made efforts to implement the regulations.
Amongst the changes are Streamline Visa Processing (SVP) and Post-Study Work (PSW). These changes are already beginning to impact the market positively and Indian students are once again finding it as a destination for quality studies.
For more details on visa rules, click here!
Australia also tightened its visa rules for the vocational and private education providers.
This was to ensure that the international student numbers are manageable in this sector while the universities under SVP are given some role with student visa decision making.
Post-study work is being rolled out from 2013 and this will allow international students to be able to stay on and work for a few years at the degree level.
But at this time, the SVP and PSW favour the university-bound students only and excludes vocation-oriented polytechnic education
Ironically, Australia's main competitor, the United Kingdom, removed the PSW earlier this year for political reasons and this has meant a fall in numbers to the UK and an expected movement of some of these numbers to Australia.
The applications to Australian universities are already showing an increase and it is expected to continue to rise over the next three years.
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh
Australian school system is considered one of the best in the world.
In Mathematics and the world-wide articulation test, Australia is in the Top 10, ahead of the US and the UK. The country also ranks third among all English-speaking nations in preference for foreign students in higher education.
The quality of education is assured through the development of national quality assurance frameworks covering key areas of an institution's operations.
The Australian Qualifications Framework links Australian schools, vocational and higher education qualifications into a simple coherent structure of 15 nationally-recognised education and training awards.
The AQF encourages choice, flexible delivery, lifelong learning and simplifies international comparison and recognition. It also encourages cross-sectoral linkage programmes such as:
This framework is the world's first of its kind, and attracts strong international attention. Some 20 European and Asian countries have requested briefings on the framework in the last few years.