Australia’s fake education ‘exports’ exposed again

Australia/June 11, 2021/ By  in Australian EconomyInternational Students/Source:

MB has comprehensively debunked Australia’s claimed $40 billion of education exports, which are wildly exaggerated.

In a nutshell, the majority of education ‘exports’ comes in the form of expenditure on goods and services in Australia, as explicitly acknowledged in a recent Mitchell Institute report:

The majority of the $20 billion loss of economic value is in the form of goods and services spent in the broader economy: about 36% on accommodation and another 36% is on hospitality and retail.

Given that most international students fund a significant proportion of their expenses via income earned while working in Australia, this by definition is not an export.

The fact that so many international students fell into hardship when they lost their jobs at the beginning of the pandemic, and then demanded taxpayer support, highlights this point. As does the fact that youth unemployment has fallen sharply despite rising participation, precisely because the number of international students working and competing for jobs has shrunk.

An article published on Wednesday by The PIE highlights the international education export scam, with foreign students now qualifying for emergency welfare if they lose their jobs due to lockdown:

Recipients will be given up to $500 per week for losing 20 hours or more of work, and $325 per week for losing under 20 hours…

Belle Lim, national president of the Council of International Students Australia told The PIE… “this support is critical to help those in the community who are most in need and most vulnerable to an extended lockdown”…

“Many students had reported skipping meals, compromising living arrangements, worrying about course discontinuation due to inability to pay fees, or even facing homelessness,” Lim said…

Robert Parsonson, executive officer of ISEAA… said that the government had not given assistance during the first lockdowns of 2020 and that this had led to “queues of international students for food hampers”.

Again, how can international education be considered Australia’s third biggest export when foreign students fund their studies via working in Australia? Any money earned in Australia is by definition not an export.

Any genuine calculation of education exports would only count money that comes into Australia from overseas. It should also net out money sent home via remittances. The fact that the oft quoted $40 billion export figure does neither of these things, and wrongly includes expenditure funded via paid work in Australia, means education exports are wildly exaggerated.

International education is not a genuine export industry, but rather a people importing industry.

Sadly, the creative accounting and propaganda surrounding education exports plays straight into the hands of the edu-migration industry by inflating its worth while never mentioning the many costs.


Unconventional Economist
Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. He is also a co-founder of MacroBusiness.
Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.

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Docente - Investigadora Educativa.
Doctora en Cs. de la Educación, Magíster en Desarrollo Curricular y Licenciada en Relaciones Industriales.

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Australia’s fake education ‘exports’ exposed again – Sarraute Educación María Magdalena

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