Australian education needs more foreign students

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Australian education groups are optimistic that the government will help fix Australia's ailing education industry.

Educators traveled to Canberra on 22 November to meet with Immigration Minister Chris Bowen, Trade Minister Craig Emerson, and the coalition government's universities spokesman, Brett Mason to lobby for changes that will support the education sector.

The education industry is Australia's most valuable export industry worth more than AUD $18.5 billion to the Australian economy. Unfortunately, the industry has seen a dramatic decline in foreign student enrolments.

Student visas granted to offshore applicants has declined 30 percent in the past year, causing universities to cut staff and budgets.

The education industry wants the Australian government to relax student visa rules and to implement faster and more transparent processing of applications. They also feel more can be done to promote Australia as a study abroad destination.

Claire Field of the Australian Council for Private Education and Training was encouraged by the Australian government's reaction to the current situation in the education sector.

"They understand that Australia is out of step with competitor countries and they understand the consequences of no further change. We are looking forward to and hopeful of both short-term and long-term changes," Field said.