AUSTRALIA: Indian student market has collapsed

From Arun Bhutani

I refer to the article Fears Indian market may collapse. The Indian market for Australian higher education has already collapsed. It is down to less than 20% in most of the Indian states, because of the attacks on Indian students followed by change in the mind set of the visa processing teams from "why to reject" to "why to issue" a visa.

I agree there were some frauds but when genuine students are rejected for petty reasons, the industry cannot survive. Many Indian banks do not disburse a genuinely sanctioned loan till a visa is approved, which is fair. But there has been no example of a loan not being disbursed after approval.

If the visa officer rejects for that reason, calling it a fraud, we know where the market is heading - if you force every genuine student to prove his or her genuineness against all such odds, the market has to crash.

The point made regarding finding it difficult to find places to send the displaced students is also very important. Many more colleges will go under if there is no visible support for this A$2 billion (US$1.8 billion) education industry.

* Arun Bhutani is CEO of AB Educational Avenues.

I would agree that Indian numbers will drop to 20%, equivalent to a AU$1.5 billion loss.

Unlike the Australian onshore education marketing (i.e. short term offshore sales promotion & recruitment) industry we defer to and analyse our marketing activity via the internet.

We field web visitors from India. The interest from this basic indicator has dropped 80% in past 6 months.

I cannot understand that although Australian universities have a supposed wealth of expertise, we have not been aware of any marketing strategy (including talking with existing, not just prospective, clients), just international travel plans.

Andrew Smith,
Australian International Education Centre,

The Indian issue in Australia may be one contributing factor to the downturn, but how does this compare to other contributing factors? To what extent have the financial crises and increasing competition from other regions contributed to the downturn? I am sure that lack of student job opportunities - both in the short and long term - is a cause of concern for many potential new students! To what extent has the continuing economic growth in India itself contributed to a reassessment of which educational pathways to follow? Is increasing competition from other countries and regions, i.e. USA, Canada, EU, China, playing any significant role?

Jorgen Heramb