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Australia: Double-digit growth in education exports

2015 was a banner year for Australia’s international education sector, with the education export income hitting a new record.  Preliminary trade figures released on 3 February by the Australian Bureau for Statistics show that export income from education services soared by 11.5% to EUR 12.8 billion (AUD 19.2 billion) from EUR 11.1 billion (AUD 17 billion) in the previous year. This marked the second year in a row of double-digit growth in the sector, as the effects of the visa reforms and a declining Australian dollar continued to drive international enrolments. These figures mean that international education remains Australia’s largest services export and the nation’s fourth largest export overall. 
Recent figures from OECD’s Education at a glance 2015 report showed that Australia with nearly half a million international students was the third most popular study destination in 2013 after the United States and the United Kingdom. The number of international students has grown by 50% since 2005, and Minister for Trade Andrew Robb’s ambition for Australia is to raise the number of international students to one million by 2025. 
Efforts are underway to further raise the international education profile of the country with the preparation of a national strategy for international education. The strategy will unite several agendas for international education that are currently dispersed across different sectors: Australian Government’s priorities in the Australian International Education (AIE) 2025, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Global Alumni Strategy. A Draft National Strategy for International Education was released in April 2015 for consultation (see ACA Newsletter - Education Europe, Edition The Department of Education and Training of the Australian Government