Australia - Country Commercial Guide

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-08-16


International education is Australia’s fourth biggest export valued at US$27 billion in 2019, covering higher education, Vocational and Training (VET) services, English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS).  

Australia is home to 43 universities with at least one university main campus based in each state or territory. Australia is the eighth most popular study-abroad destination for American students with around 8,250 American students in 2019 of which 2,600 were in higher education.

Types of schools include government schools, non-government schools (including faith-based schools such as Catholic schools) and schools based on educational philosophies such as Montessori and Steiner. All schools must be registered with the state or territory education department and are subject to government requirements in terms of infrastructure and teacher registration.

The Institute of International Education (IIE) Open Doors report indicates that Australia is among top sending countries to the United States ranking at number 30. In 2020, 4,982 Australians studied in the United States of which 50.1% were Undergraduate students, 21.7% Graduate, 17.7% Non-Degree, and 10% in Optional Practical Training (OPT). Undergraduate Australian students tend to focus on the liberal arts and sciences, business, international relations, film, or art. Graduate students generally pursue law, business management, or advanced sciences. There is a broad academic and geographic distribution of Australians at U.S. universities. While the top receiving States are California, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Texas, Australian students are increasingly exploring other states to further their studies. Additionally, Australia has consistently ranked among the top senders of student-athletes to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).  

Leading Sub-Sectors

Online Education

Australian universities are projected to expand their online education capabilities over the next five years.  Improvements in technology infrastructure are anticipated to facilitate the industry’s growth. In 2020, the Australian government announced it will invest US$3.2 million to build a national online micro-credentials marketplace to be used as a ‘one-stop shop’ for students to compare courses.

To be considered an online provider, over 80% of the course or unit content offered must be delivered online. Online education includes study at all levels of education.

Online Education: Products and Services Segmentation

Non-formal education


Certificates and diplomas


Undergraduate courses


Postgraduate courses


Online tutoring


School education


Source: IbisWorld April 2020

Leading online providers in Australia include Ducere, Online Education Services, Open Colleges, Open Training and Education Network, and Open Universities Australia. Additionally, Kaplan Professional, owned by U.S.-based company Graham Holdings, is one of the leading organizations offering both vocational and postgraduate online qualifications.

Technological advancements, wider internet access, and data-transfer speed resulted in the growth of online learning and made the online education model an increasingly viable and attractive option for learning and career advancement. Furthermore, Australia has a relatively high smartphone penetration rate compared with the rest of the world. Online education providers have readily made course content available on smartphones and they continue to increase their reach.

Education Technology

The Australian education technology market is dynamic and evolving. According to The Australian EdTech Market Census 2019 by Deloitte in partnership with EduGrowth, population growth, evolving labor market skills, and emerging industry needs are driving rapid demand for EdTech. Education Technology offers solutions that address specific needs of learners, employers, or education providers as well as support researchers and administrators of educational services. 

It is estimated that Australia has approximately 600 EdTech organizations servicing the entire education ecosystem. These organizations have almost doubled in size since 2017. Established companies, that have been in operation for more than two years, now make up almost 40% of the market.

Since 2017, the most common solutions of EdTech organizations in Australia target the primary, secondary and higher education sectors. According to Deloitte, this is closely aligned to government spending in these areas.


The online education industry in Australia has a high potential for globalization as online course delivery removes national boundaries and allows for competition at a global level. The trend towards reskilling, upskilling and lifelong learning is also expected to support growth in this flexible method of study.

EdTech and distance learning will be critical to help meet increased demand for education in schools and higher education, while simultaneously enhancing education services. Professional learning also provides an opportunity for growth. According to Deloitte, a high level of local and global Investment seems to be concentrated in the future of work solutions such as cloud computing. The Australian government regards high-quality science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education as critically important for the country’s current and future productivity. Consequently, the government is providing significant funding for initiatives to improve the teaching and learning of STEM in early learning and schools.

Some of the most appealing educational products to the Australian market include STEM in education (i.e. robots and coding), innovative classroom resources, Augmented Reality/ Virtual Reality, and gamification. Moreover, there is an increasing demand for educational resources targeting the ageing population such as brain gyms and workbook activities for seniors.


  • EduTECH International Congress and Expo (virtual) August 17 & 18, 2021
  • EducationUSA events  for Education Fairs in Australia
  • Department of Education, Skills and Employment
  • Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange