South Australia is a thriving province located on the southern shores of the continent. Australia has always welcomed migrants and immigrants with open arms. The country was built essentially by prisoners of the early world who were sent to this far away island country. Through the years Australia came to be one of the important world powers. Now they welcome migrants from across the world. People who hope for a better future can come and contribute to their thriving economy. South Australia is no different in treating its immigrant community. More than 10,000 are currently studying in the province of South Australia. These students were sent back home when the pandemic broke out in 2020 and haven’t been able to return ever since.
The year 2020 was challenging for all of the international student community. Campuses were closed for almost a year in universities across the world due to Covid 19. If classes were held they were all online and international students were sent back to their home countries. People lost out on physical classes, laboratory practicals, internships and work time. Now more than a year after lockdown, students are finally restless and wish to resume offline classes. The Australian government as a whole has done quite a good job in handling the pandemic. Their daily numbers are as low as single digits and total deaths in the country still remains below 1000. If Australia wants to succeed in the fight against corona, lockdown and travel restricts are must till the whole population is vaccinated.
Students eager to return to south Australian universities
South Australia is the heart of international students. Their lively community as well as thriving economy is built by these foreign students. Overseas students pay a lot to get a higher education from a foreign university. Since the recent batch has been kept away from campus for more than a year now, they are bound they get anxious. During their study students get exposed to different cultures and also work to earn a few extra dollars. All this is lost due to strict lockdown measures in the country. The students contribute almost $2.145bn in revenues and also help create jobs in the market. Students enrolled in engineering and business courses later integrate into Australian society to benefit the domestic market. The government therefore certainly cannot ignore their demands indefinitely.
The students living in South Australia and their visiting families are a large proportion of the population at any given time. So businesses profit a lot from this increased size of population. Foreigners in the province have contributed largely towards its prosperity. The Covid 19 pandemic has hurt small local businesses. Many of the businesses had to shut down permanently. The return of international students might be the push the local markets need to start up again. But the government certainly thinks it is still too early to open up.
Why government remains apprehensive about return of international students?
Over 10,000 students belonging to more than 130 nations used to live and study in South Australia. Due to a global pandemic most were sent back home. These students, still with a valid study visa are waiting to enter back into the country for continuing their degree. The first case of Covid was seen in Australia in January 2020. Now after more than a year the country still remains shut. The total case in the whole year did not cross 30,000 which were way better than that of USA and UK. Australia was able to handle the health crises better than its counterparts. The total number of deaths also remains low compared to global numbers. Australia never emerged as a Covid hotspot due to good governance.
Australia is at a two month low in its covid case numbers. The number of active cases is below 50 which means that the country was able to flatten the curve significantly. The testing, identification and isolation system was seamless. Non essential businesses were kept close for a long time and wearing a mask in public was made mandatory. Populous states like New South Wales also remain covid free as of now. Although the situation seems to be under control, relaxation of regulations could mean a third wave. Hence the government still remains indecisive about the return of international students. As these students will be coming in from all corners of the world proper facilities need to be in place before they are allowed inside the country.
Return of international students to Australia
Chief executive of international education of Australia has just announced return of international students on special charter flights. As USA and UK open their doors, Australia also seems keen on reviving its international education industry. The first set comprising of 63 students from Singapore were brought in. Phil Honeywood added South Australia would also ensure safe return of their international student body. They have decided to follow a kind of lottery system to decide the students that would be returning first. Also charter fight option will be looked into.
Officials have stated that to sustain the economy the multibillion-dollar education industry needs protection. Return of international students would increase in general economic activities. It is more than a year later students are slowly being able to return to normalcy. The process of return will be slow so that all students are well screened to avoid outbreaks. The falling number of cases for some time is an indicator that it is a good time for slow phase-wise opening. Alongside being a health crisis the economic impacts of Covid are severe and long-lasting. The whole world has gone into a type of recession. Hence the decision to arrange for the return of international students comes at the right time. Within the next couple of months, South Australia will bring back the whole international student community on campus. With vaccination drives picking up this certainly can be the reality soon.