Matthew Knott, News Editor of StudyTravel Magazine
Opinion... from the News Editor

Australia's ELT sector continued its growth trajectory in 2016 with an excellent performance of a ten per cent rise in student weeks.

The sector has enjoyed four years of consecutive growth and is one of the few ELT destinations that can claim that unbroken level of success, so congratulations are in order for that.


What has prompted such sustained growth, and insulated Australia from some of the blips that other parts of the world have experienced?

Well, as Brett Blacker, CEO of peak body English Australia, points out in our news story today, there is a clear connection to the success of Australia's higher education and vocational sectors. Australia as a whole is growing, and the ELT sector is an integral part of that.


Probably more than any other destination, the interconnectedness of the segments of international education is recognised by government; indeed they even publish an annual analysis of how students transition through sectors, which emphasises the key gateway role of English language.


Australia has been very successful in Latin American markets in recent years, capitalising on the potential for work that the country can offer to language students - a privilege that relatively few ELT destinations can claim.


The growth from these markets - Brazil and Colombia in particular - has compensated for losses at various times from some of the traditional Asian source countries. When the Asian markets return - as Japan has in spectacular fashion this year - then Australia's sector will be in a good place.


To achieve almost 20 per cent year-on-year growth in students from a market as mature as Japan is quite startling. Given that New Zealand reported similar numbers, it seems there was a clear slant towards the Asia Pacific market from Japan last year. Interestingly, there was substantial growth in all visa types (with the exception of the peripheral 'other' category), demonstrating growth in long-term, short-term, pathway and working holiday markets.


The enduring strength of the American dollar and safety concerns in Europe are likely explanations for this growth, although it is worth noting that Japanese agents have been reporting solid increases overall in StudyTravel Magazine's recent agency surveys. Brett also mentioned the work that English Australia and its member schools have been undertaking with Japanese agents and the agency association there.  


On a personal level here at the StudyTravel Magazine editorial department, we are pleased to introduce the latest member of the team. Jared Tinslay is our new Editorial Assistant, and has hit the ground running with a couple of news stories this week: an interesting survey of UK university admissions officers' preferences for the IB or the A-level; and the impending closure of Colorado Heights University in the USA, perhaps symptomatic of the aforementioned price disadvantage that American providers are struggling against.


Also this week, we have news of an expansion of New Horizon College in New Zealand, a pleasing first ELT school opening in the city since the 2011 earthquake; the Canadian government giving additional prominence to French language skills in the Express Entry system; and positive signals from the Philippines agency sector, where structural changes to the school system are creating opportunities for business.


Don't forget that we also produce a weekly news video rounding up the major stories and events of the last seven days.


Thank you for reading (or watching!)



Matthew Knott

News Editor