After a steep decline in the number of Indian students going to Australia to pursue higher education last year, universities in Australia are hoping to recover this academic year.
“Though we will not regain the market completely this year, the enquiries and applications received indicate a positive scenario. We hope that there will be a 30 to 50 per cent increase in the number of students this year,” said Chris Lawrance, regional manager, International Marketing and Student Recruitment, University of Melbourne at IDP's Australian Education Fair organised here on Sunday.
Most of the questions that came from students were to do with scholarships, assistantship and internship opportunities available in the universities. “Most universities are offering 10 to 30 per cent scholarships particularly for research,” said Raja Sood, Head, marketing south Asia, IDP Education.
There seems to be a shift of interest in the fields of study chosen by students. There have been more enquiries about courses in filmmaking, physiotherapy and pharmacy, a shift from the conventional engineering and management courses, say university representatives.
Students such as R. Sangamithra continue to be apprehensive about the safety and security aspects in Australia. “I want to know if it is safe to study in Australia now since I do not have any relatives or friends there. Also how the universities will help me out in this respect,” says Sangamithra who is looking at M.S in Biotechnology.
In response to such concerns, the University of Melbourne is issuing cards that contain information about the security measures offered by the university.
“The university offers Security Escort Service on campus. We also issued an Emergency Contact Card for students to carry for assistance any time. A Family Contact Card is also given for students' families to reach them when they are concerned,” said Nidhi Kamdar, Country Officer, The University of Melbourne.
There have been many enquiries about postgraduate research courses too. Facebook and other social networking sites are also increasingly used by students to contact alumni and secure information about prospective universities, said Mr. Lawrence.