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Student applications at Queensland’s varsities at an all-time high

September 30, 2022

Indian student applications who wish to pursue higher education in Queensland are at an all-time high post the Covid-19 pandemic, experts from Queensland’s varsities said.

The representatives of the University of Queensland, Griffith University, Central Queensland University of Australia and the University of Southern Queensland, part of the ‘Trade and Investment Queensland’ delegation have been looking at collaborations with Indian Universities and have visited public and private varsities over the past few weeks for discussion.

Sumit Aggarwal, regional director, south Asia, Central Queensland University said, reiterated that the applications currently exceeded the usual number. “The number of enquiries and applications are at an all-time high this year. If all goes well, this could also be the highest number of visas ever processed. The number of Indian students could exceed 1.5 times the usual number,” he said. He said that the numbers were the highest in at least 20 years now.

Aggarwal, added that during the pandemic, less than 20% of Indian students who expressed interest willingly signed up for an online course. “The experience of being on campus was amiss. There was no visibility. The lockdown had a severe impact. Lack of life experiences on campus was a deterrent for students to apply,” he said.

Indian students’ reluctance to choose online learning during the pandemic was among the key reasons for a drop in the number of Indian admissions, said representatives of universities in Queensland, Australia.

Responding to a query on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Indian admissions at Queensland’s varsities, Professor Sarah Todd, vice president at Griffith University said that the admissions declined during the pandemic as Indian students did not want to pursue their course online. “Indian students were not keen on pursuing higher education online. They wanted to be there on the campus. While those who were already on campus mostly did not return, the new admissions were certainly impacted,” she said.

Prof Todd, however, said that since Australia reopened its borders, there has been a significant increase in applications.

Brett Lovegrove, Pro vice chancellor (global partnerships) at University of Queensland added “A lack of job opportunities in the case of pursuing courses online was also a reason students did not wish to migrate to Australia. There was a 75% dip in Indian applications during the pandemic.”

Bengaluru preferred

Meanwhile, the varsity representatives said that Bengaluru was a preferred destination among most Australian students who visited India for higher education, as part of student exchange programmes or internships.

 “Most students find Bengaluru to be an attractive destination. It is more student friendly. It is easy to get around the city and understand it’s layout. Students say they experience less of a culture shock when they visit here. Hence the preference,” said Todd.

Abhinav Bhatia, Senior Trade Commissioner (South Asia) at Trade & Investment, Queensland (TIQ) agreed that students got better learning opportunities and exposure in Bengaluru than other cities. Since it is also a hub for startups and houses 45 unicorns, it is a preferred destination for students.

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