The Australian government is developing a new strategy that will help in the recovery of the international education sector that has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Education, Skills, and Employment has announced.
“Looking further ahead, the Australian Government is also developing a new strategy for international education over 2021-2023 to guide the recovery of the sector, strengthen the sector’s resilience to market disruptions and to support growth,” a spokesperson for the Department of Education told Erudera College News.
The new government’s strategy is expected to chart a course towards the recovery and lasting sustainability for international education in the country over the next decade. The main aim of the strategy is to position the education sector to deliver quality education which will contribute to global changes.
Due to the pandemic, thousands of international students have not been allowed to enter Australia since March 20 last year, when the country closed its international borders. A report by the Mitchell Institute for Education and Health Policy identified nearly 210,000 fewer international students in Australia compared to prior years. Differently, the Department of Education data suggests 69,427 fewer enrolments.
The Department has reiterated that international students are an important part of the Australian community, and they will be welcomed back in Australia when appropriate, adding that the government is continuing discussions with state and territories around students’ arrival.
“State and territory governments are responsible for developing International Student Arrival Plans, consistent with the Australian Government Protocols and Preconditions for International Student Arrivals,” the spokesperson pointed out.
The return of international students to Australia is expected to take place with small phased programs by the end of 2021 potentially, and then gradually increase next year. Their return will also be guided by the health advice and the vaccine rollout, complying with the National Plan to Transition Australia’s National COVID-19 Response.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that country will begin returning international students and skilled migrants once the vaccination rates hit 80 percent, allowing international travel for those who are fully vaccinated.
“At 80 percent vaccination rates, the national plan provides for people to travel again. If you’re vaccinated, then we are hoping to have in place, we’re expecting to be welcoming back students, we’re expecting to be welcoming back skilled migrants, expecting to be welcoming back when they’re vaccinated, people into the country on that basis,” PM Scott Morrison said during a press conference Washington DC, USA
Due to the same situation for many months now, Australia’s international students stranded abroad have considered studying in other countries while many others have even warned of protests in front of embassies.