16/06/2020 - 10:07

Schools miss OS opportunity

16/06/2020 - 10:07

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New research from StudyPerth suggests enrolments of international students in the state’s schools could have as much value to the wider economy as that provided by the tertiary sector.

Schools miss OS opportunity
International school students contributed $52 million to the WA economy in 2019. Photo: Ivan Aleksic

New research from StudyPerth suggests enrolments of international students in the state’s schools could have as much value to the wider economy as that provided by the tertiary sector.

That’s despite Western Australia teaching a relatively small cohort of international students compared to other states.

According to data from the Department of Education, just 864 of WA’s international enrolments were taught in the state’s secondary and primary schools in 2019, representing about 1.6 per cent of WA’s overall international student population.

By comparison, there were 24,886 international enrolments in the state’s universities for the same year, 15,406 in vocational training, 9,868 in English language courses, and 2,380 in non-award courses.

While primary and secondary school enrolments make up a small portion of the state’s overall international student population, they also comprise a smaller share of the student population nationally, with just 3.4 per cent of Australia’s international school-aged students taught in WA schools.

That represents a decline from 2005, when 8.8 per cent of Australia’s international primary and secondary school students were taught in WA.

A fall in student numbers over that time can be attributed to an abundance of overseas students during the mining boom, followed by an overall decrease in migration as the boom ended in the mid-2010s.

According to analysis from ACIL Allen Consulting, the economic contribution of international primary and secondary students to the state’s economy is considerable, even in such small numbers.

In 2019, international school students contributed $52 million to the state economy, with each enrolment generating around $59,646.

Those enrolled helped create 368 jobs overall, or one full-time job for every two international students taught in WA schools.

By comparison, the overall economic contribution of each school student to WA was on par with university enrolments, where each enrolment contributes $61,508 to the state economy.

Their contribution was also greater than non-award and VET enrolments, which generated just $24,463 and $24,063 per head, respectively.

Each school enrolment also generates more jobs than any other sub-sector enrolment, including higher education, where one job is created for every three enrolments.

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