International Universities are planning to charter flights to carry international students to campuses as part of the Covid-19 travel disruption proposal. Universities are going in not only to get students on flights but also to help them on campus with other aspects of their travel.
Speaking during a British Council webinar on the future of transnational education, University of Exeter’s vice-chancellor and UK’s international education champion Steve Smith said the critical issue of the pandemic is how it will affect the ability of people to travel.
He said, “In the autumn we are looking to charter planes to bring students from other parts of the world”.
“Because if they are unable to fly on commercial airlines, if that is the case, then TNE would be more of an interesting choice for us because people may not be able to travel. I think that’s the secret to that balance.”
Bolton University partnered with Manchester Airport and Bolton Council to arrange airport pick-up, dedicated coach travel, and student quarantine support. George Holmes, University of Bolton’s president and vice-chancellor, said the health of students should be paramount during their entire trip and when they arrive on campus.
“Bolton University is open to international students. They’re a big part of our community, “he said. “We will ensure that their safety is paramount from the moment they leave their homes in whatever country they originate.
“We will assist and help foreign students during the journey, ensuring they remain inside their own ‘bubble’ from the moment they set off to the moment they come out of quarantine in the UK,” he said. A flight has been chartered from Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland to carry students from Beijing to Northern Ireland in September.
Qualified for the flight are all students who currently hold an offer for Queen’s and INTO Queen’s – and who fulfil the requirements associated with their bid. It’s also open to the current students coming back to Belfast to begin their next academic year. Health remains a concern.
“Students are required 48 hours before flight departure to take a Covid-19 exam. They are expected to provide proof of the test to board the flight, “reads a statement on the website of the university.
Flight chartering is not only used to help the pool of incoming international students. The strategy would also facilitate the return of former students to universities and restart their studies.
The University of Canberra and the Australian National University are set to fly in July in 350 students as part of a pilot scheme backed by the governments of the Federal and Australian Capital Territory.
“The program would see 350 international students arriving mid-July ahead of the second semester on the first flight in Canberra,” said the outlet vice-chancellor of Canberra University, Paddy Nixon. “They must undergo compulsory quarantine at Canberra hotels, which will be partially compensated for by the ACT government and us,” Nixon said.