11/02/2009 - 22:00

WA unis tap into sub-continent

11/02/2009 - 22:00

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A NUMBER of Western Australian universities are looking to actively increase the numbers of international students coming to WA from India, citing the sub-continent as a key area for future growth.

A NUMBER of Western Australian universities are looking to actively increase the numbers of international students coming to WA from India, citing the sub-continent as a key area for future growth.

The University of Western Australia is leading the charge and has become one of the preferred destinations for Indian students, with numbers growing from only four students three years ago to 250 in 2009.

Deputy vice-chancellor research and innovation, Doug McEachern, said he recently returned from a recruitment campaign in the country, a program started about five years ago, with great success.

"In terms of student recruitment, we've been concentrating on post-grads and it has been a story of growth, growth, growth," Professor McEachern told WA Business News.

"We think, in the long run, relations with India and China will be essential.

"We've been recruiting post-graduate students ... often in collaboration with our research partners to come and work in Australia.

"The spinoff of this is the graduates that come from our program, some will remain in Australia and boost the Australian situation, and an equal number will return to India and greatly improve the availability of skills and talent for the Indian economy.

''So I think it's a win-win situation."

While the number of Indian students is significantly less at Murdoch University, it continues seeking out greater numbers of overseas students.

Of the 2,168 overseas students enrolled at Murdoch in 2008, 49 came from India, an increase of almost 30 per cent on the 37 enrolled in 2007.

But, not all the major universities are following the same trend.

According to Curtin University acting deputy vice-chancellor international, Paddy Forde, there has been a slight decline in the number of students enrolled from India, but it is still too early for final enrolment figures for 2009.

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