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The value of South Australia’s international education sector grew even stronger last year with new ABS data revealing an 18.6 per cent increase bringing the total value of the sector to $2.2 billion.

The year on year statistics to December 2019, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics last week show that prior to COVID-19 the sector in South Australia sustained growth well above the 14.5 per cent national increase.

Minster for Trade and Investment Stephen Patterson said that the figures highlighted a great vote of confidence in the Marshall Liberal Government’s approach to growing the international education sector.

“International education is a key driver of the South Australian economy, and our Government has long been focused on supporting this important sector to create jobs,” Minister Patterson said.

“We launched the International Education Sector Strategy in 2019 in collaboration with industry, which outlined targeted initiatives to attract new students to South Australia, as well as encouraging the best and brightest to stay.

“While the industry has been inevitably hit by the impact of COVID-19, our confidence in our approach is bolstered by these figures – South Australia’s worldwide standing as a leader in international education remains intact.

“Furthermore, once international borders open up, our state’s incredible health response and nation-leading support for international students will act as a guiding light for new students looking for a study destination.”

The ABS figures also reported a 13 per cent increase in South Australian service exports overall, worth $3.92 billion. Tourism and International education make up the lion’s share of South Australia’s services exports, accounting for 75 per cent of the total.

StudyAdelaide Chief Executive Karyn Kent said the demand for international education remains strong, despite the impact of travel restrictions.

“Last year, there were over 44,000 international student enrolments with South Australia’s education institutions, and in the first six months of 2020 we have experienced growth of 14 per cent in enrolments compared to the same time last year.

“This demonstrates the ongoing demand for a South Australian education, and positions international education as a key sector to drive economic recovery in South Australia.

“StudyAdelaide and our education partners look forward to welcoming back those students who are still offshore – around 17 per cent of current students - and in the future, new students to Adelaide who add to the vibrancy and multiculturalism of our city.

In April the Marshall Liberal Government announced a $13.8 million support package for international students facing hardship, as part of the Community and Jobs Support Fund.

International students, living away from home and ineligible for Commonwealth Government income support, were able to access $500 emergency cash grants to help cover cost of living expenses.

Minister Patterson said ensuring international students are supported as much as possible will help maintain South Australia’s global reputation as a premier place to live and study.

“With the industry hit hard by COVID-19, we’ve been focused on working with industry to support international students still in South Australia as well as those studying remotely and wanting to return.

“For every four international students enrolled in South Australia, one job is created, which is why we are working hard to get this important sector back on track.”

For more information visit the Department for Trade and Investment website.