Austrade surveys Malaysian agents on student trends

07, January, 2015

Australia is the most popular destination for Malaysian students, according to a recent Austrade survey of agents in the country, although rising tuition and living fees and competition from the UK and Canada present challenges for selling Australian programmes.

Source: Austrade, based on responses to Austrade survey of Malaysian agents

Austrade, the Australian Trade Commission promoting international education and other industries overseas, gathered information from Malaysian agents during its annual agents’ networking day, held in Kuala Lumpur recently.

The survey found that in the first seven months of 2014, 76 per cent of students sent to Australia by the participating agents were studying undergraduate programmes, 13 per cent chose postgraduate programmes, and five per cent each went to VET and secondary schools. There was minimal demand for English language programmes, reflecting the high level of English already spoken by Malaysian students.

The comparative data for students sent to other countries reveals that Australia was the only destination chosen for vocational level study. But alternative countries may be more popular for secondary study, as the secondary sector represented 12 per cent of all bookings to other destinations. Malaysia is traditionally one of the top source markets for UK boarding schools.

From Jan-to-July 2014, 48 per cent of Malaysian students booking through the participating agents went to Australia, while 33 per cent travelled to the UK.

In terms of challenges, Malaysian agents said the rising tuition fees of Australia and the country’s high living costs compared with other countries were a challenge, and that strong competition for Australia was coming from the UK, Canada and New Zealand.

However, for non-Malaysian clients of Malaysian agencies, the UK was the most popular destination, chosen by 37 per cent, followed by Australia on 32 per cent. The Austrade report noted that this is a market segment that Australian institutions could tap into. The report also recommended diversifying into VET training, offering scholarships and engaging more effectively with agent partners in the country.

For the first time Austrade hosted the Austrade Malaysia Education Agent Awards at the networking day, created to acknowledge agents’ contribution to the Australian international education sector.

The winners announced on the day were: A3 Education and Training in the award for innovation and creativity in marketing; AUG Student Services in the professionalism in event management category; E&M Education Counselling in the service delivery award; and EdNet Consultancy in the small agency category.



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