Federal Education Minister Alan Tudge recently said that the mass return of International students might not be possible this year, as for the efficacy of the vaccine, we need time to tell how effective a vaccine is.
Ruining the plans of return for International students, Education Minister Tudge said that International students might not be able to return to Australia in significant numbers at any time before 2022.
- Overseas students may not return to Australia in significant numbers in 2021: Alan Tudge
- The vaccine regime in their country will decide the return of International students.
- Australia is still out of consideration for an air bubble with India.
The return of international students will depend on the vaccine regime in their country.
Australian Education Minister spoke at the Study in Australia, webinar organized by the Australia India Business Council (AIBC) “my hope is that certainly from next year we will be starting to be close to being normal again and having large numbers of international students to be returning, but there are a lot of ifs to get to that point in time”, he said to the Australia India Business Council members who raised the dilemma of international students eagerly waiting for their turn to fly back to the Australian shores.
He also added that the return of international students depends on the vaccine regime in their country. The vaccine should be effective on the scale of both the efficacy of not getting sick and the effectiveness of transmission.
Raw data on international students in 2020 shows a cumulative loss of 882,482 admissions across the sector, with higher education making up 418,168 in numbers.
As the Covid-19 pandemic hits the world in March 2020, the number of international students in 2020 from China, Nepal, Vietnam, and Brazil dropped drastically.
The country has witnessed nearly 38,000 Indian students leaving Australia, currently, the country holds an enrollment of 77,000 Indian students fallen from 115,0000.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, international education was worth about A$32 billion ($25.3 billion) in the financial year 2017-2018.
The pandemic has already cut the number of international students who would normally be in Australia by over 210,000.
While Indian students currently enrolled have been resilient to dropping away during the crisis, offshore visa applications from India to study in Australia have declined by 48 percent, as Indian students are not in favor of online studies. The students are now looking to other destinations whose border rules have been more favorable to international students, like Canada.
While British universities have brought Chinese students on chartered flights and Canada has re-opened its borders for international students, Australian universities have been largely left behind by federal government policies.
There is a possibility of a small number of students returning this year if states and territories work with educational institutions to set up a separate quarantine regime for students, over and above the existing spots reserved for returning citizens and permanent residents said Alan Tudge.
A digital vaccine certification system could pave the way for the return of international students to the country.
Education Minister Alan Tudge said “a digital vaccine certification system could pave the way for the return of international students to the country.
Though, its success is reliant on the government discovering a way to link vaccine certificates to a new digitized system for incoming passenger cards it plans to introduce in 2021.
The minister said if a resolution could be discovered, the certificates could be a pathway for overseas students to enter Australia in significant numbers.
He also added “If a vaccine works and prevents the spread, and it can be rolled out effectively in source countries and we can have surety over-vaccination certificates, then there is the potential to be able to bring in more international students without them having to quarantine,”
Many international students are taking online classes, and Australian universities allowing discounts for international students who enroll to study from their home countries while waiting to come to Australia when borders open.
International students have appealed to the government to exempt them from international border restrictions, and international student lobby groups have been voicing the concerns of frustrated students who have paid significant money on visas and tuition fees and are still not permitted to enter the country
Meanwhile, the borders to Canada, the UK, the US, and Ireland are widely open – even as coronavirus cases are considerably higher than Australia’s.
However, the CEO of the industry group International Education Association of Australia criticized prioritizing tennis and cricket players over international students.
Many international students believe that Australians have a very weak understanding of the contributions made by international students.
The students believe that a country recognizes them as numbers, overlooking the fact that how their living expenses, skills development, and relationships built across the globe benefit both Australia and their home countries.
No travel bubble with India:
Earlier in the outbreak, Australia closed down its border to slow the spread of Covid-19, with non-citizens banned from visiting except in special cases. Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack had indicated that Australia is working with Singapore to open up an international travel bubble as early as July.
The education minister also said that the government is working towards building such bubble arrangements with countries like New Zealand and Singapore that have successfully contained the virus.
Singapore, which was identified by the Australian government as a potential travel bubble partner for June or July, enjoys a similar worthy record in COVID-19 containment as its Australasian neighbors and, arguably, more composed management of the virus.
However, Mr. Tudge ruled out the possibilities of setting up a travel corridor with India. He said it is going to be tough with India though simply because it’s such a large nation and the virus has been comparatively broadly transmitted.
Australia’s low intake of its residents and citizens stranded across the world, an air bubble between the two is currently out of the question.