Against the backdrop of racial attacks and stricter immigration rules, Indian students' enrolment in universities in Australia's Victorian state has recorded a massive drop of around 40 per cent in the first two months of the new academic year as compared to the same period in 2009.
According to latest figures provided by the federal Education Department, foreign students were now turning their back against the state's colleges, The Age reported.
While international student "starts" for the first two months of this year dropped by three per cent nationally, they were down 12 per cent in Victoria in comparison with the same period last year, it said.
The decline in Indian student figures has been most dramatic with their number in Victorian institutions plummeting from 6303 to 3761.
The report also said that apart from Indians, students from Malaysia, starting in the state, also recorded declining trend of 32 per cent, compared to a national drop of 13 per cent. Tose from Korea dropped by 13 per cent, against a national decline of 3 per cent.
Nationally, universities with higher education starts witnessed a 10 per cent rise for the similar period. However, Victoria emerged as the only state to record a drop in that as well, where starts were down nine per cent.
In the controversial sector of vocational education that has been hit by several college closures, starts were down six per cent nationally while Victoria's starts dropped by 13 per cent.
However, education agents have stressed that the drop in students enrolment is mainly because there were now a very strict visa rules for Indian students.
Besides, a large number of Indian youths were brutally attacked, including racially, in Australia for the past one year.