Concerns have been raised about Australia’s potential dependance on Chinese students in its high education sector. Education is Australia’s third largest export industry, with around 80,000 students coming to study in 2017, according to the federal Department of Education and Training, The inaugural ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Australia Education Dialogue, held today in Penang Malaysia, highlighted Australia’s heavy reliance on Chinese international students.

Nationally, 44 per cent of international students come from China, but 48 per cent of University of Wollongong international students come from China.

The dialogue has raised concerns about the potential negative impact on the Australian education sector if something was to happen to the Chinese economy.

Chair of Global Student Mobility and Partnerships sub-committee at the University of Wollongong Professor Wilma Vialle said, despite the dire predictions about China, there was still likely to be a high demand for overseas education.

Prof. Vialle is confident UOW would be protected if the rate of Chinese international students did decline because the international student base is well spread across other ASEAN countries, including Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and Japan,

“We would be in trouble if we were over dependent on any one country so all of the efforts we make are around diversifying as much as possible,” Prof. Vialle said.

Prof. Vialle said the University of Wollongong already has a focus on other countries in the Asia Pacific region.

“The new Colombo plan is to provide funding for all our students to go to all 40 countries in the Asia Pacific region,” she said.

Exchange students from the Asia Pacific region are the highest source of students for UOW.