Strong growth in education sector earnings

01/10/2008 - 22:00

EDUCATION remains a key export in Western Australia, with the sector's major players posting double digit revenue increases last year.

EDUCATION remains a key export in Western Australia, with the sector's major players posting double digit revenue increases last year.

Applecross-based education services company Navitas Ltd is the state's leading education exporter, with export revenue totalling $276.3 million in financial year 2007-08.

This was a 22 per cent increase on the $227 million achieved in the previous financial year.

About 80 per cent of the company's $345.4 million turnover is sourced from international students, based in Australia or at one of the company's overseas campuses in Canada and the UK.

The company has also expanded into Singapore, announcing in March this year that it had signed an in-principle agreement with Curtin University to establish a campus in Singapore.

Under the nine-year deal, the campus will be established by Curtin and branded as Curtin Singapore, with Navitas managing and operating the facility.

It follows a similar arrangement between the two organisations over a campus in Sydney, established in 2005.

The first stage of the Singapore campus is due for completion in December.

Navitas, known as IBT Education Ltd until November last year, has a share of more than 10 per cent of the international higher education student market in Australia.

Its core business offering is pre-university and entry level university education, with its biggest enrolments in business, IT and engineering.

The company also operates an English language arm, a workforce and training business, and performs some student recruitment.

Several of WA's universities also increased their financial return from international students last year.

Curtin University of Technology is the leader in this group, with export revenue totalling $162.3 million in calendar year 2007.

This represented nearly one third of the total $515 million Curtin earned last year, and a 13 per cent increase on 2006's export revenue total.

In contrast, Curtin's revenue from domestic activities fell 16 per cent, bringing the university's total revenue down from $562.3 million to $515 million.

Next to Curtin in terms of overseas student revenue is the University of Western Australia, which earned almost $50.4 million from the sector last financial year, through both its onshore and offshore courses.

This was up from $44.2 million the year before.

While Murdoch University's revenue from overseas students ($27.8 million) was just over half that earned by UWA, it was a 19 per cent increase on the previous year.

Murdoch's international onshore student enrolments increased by 4 per cent in 2007, to 1,957 students - the university's highest overseas enrolment to date.

Edith Cowan University posted a marginal increase in international revenue in 2007, up just $1 million to $35 million.

Several of Perth's English language schools also generated significant export revenue.

West Perth-based Phoenix English Language Academy posted a turnover of $8 million for the 2008 financial year, marginally up from the year before.

Managing director Brian Walsh said enrolments were trending upwards and the company expected this to continue despite global financial concerns.

Mr Walsh said enrolment growth was expected to come from China and the Middle East.



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