Australian report highlights pathway trends

27 July, 2015

Around two thirds of student visa-holding Elicos students transitioned to a further programme of study in Australia in 2013-14, according to data released by the government’s International Education Group, but longer-term trends show more students commencing directly at higher education level.

Sector in which Elicos student visa students enrolled after completed Elicos course in 2013. Source - International Education Group, Australia

According to the Study Pathways of International Students in Australia, 2013-14 research, 34 per cent of student visa holders that completed an Elicos course in 2013 enrolled immediately in higher education – a one per cent increase over the previous year. Twenty-three per cent transitioned to the VET sector, up from 21 per cent in the last report.  

Five per cent of Elicos student visa holders moved to the non-award sector and three per cent continued studies at secondary level.

Sue Blundell, Executive Director of English Australia, said, “Student visa Elicos plays a significant role as a pipeline to further study, particularly for higher education.” She added, “Other sectors, quite rightly, look to trends in the Elicos sector as an early indicator of forthcoming growth/decline trends.”

She said that 65 per cent of Elicos student visa holders in 2013 were pathway students, and this meant that pathways accounted for around 43 per cent of all Elicos students on any visa type, with Elicos-only students still the largest overall cohort.

Of the top ten Elicos student visa nationalities in 2013, students from China (73.1 per cent) and India (68.7 per cent) were the most likely to pathway to higher education; Thai students had the highest proportion transitioning to VET (46.2); while students from Colombia (77.2), Japan (65.5) and Brazil (59.7) were most inclined to study Elicos only.

Of the international students that commenced a higher education course in 2014, 54 per cent did not have any prior study in another sector in Australia, according to the data.

Blundell said over a five-year period, this ratio had increased from 40 per cent, while the percentage of international students in HE that had previously studied an Elicos programme in Australia declined from 43 per cent to 29 per cent over the same period.

She suggested contributing factors to this trend could be higher levels of English proficiency among students, students studying English at home to save on costs, changes to entry standards in terms of recognition of school qualifications and streamlined visa processing (SVP) making universities more risk averse in working with other institutions.

“Whilst we can’t say that SVP has been the sole cause of this narrowing of the pipeline, the Elicos sector is looking forward to the new simplified student visa framework as providing an opportunity for Elicos providers to demonstrate their suitability to be low-risk partners and expand this pipeline again.”

A similar, albeit less dramatic, long-term trend can be observed in the VET sector; 46 per cent of VET students started directly in the sector in 2013/14, compared with 39 per cent in 2009/10. The ratio of students that were enrolled in Elicos prior to VET narrowed from 46 per cent to 36 per cent over the same period.

In the secondary school sector, 54 per cent of international students progressed onto another sector in Australia in 2013, according to the government data. Thirty-three per cent of secondary students progressed to higher education, nine per cent moved to VET, and six per cent each transitioned to Elicos and the non-award sector.

Matthew Knott
News Editor



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