South Australia’s pilot plan to bring overseas students back to the state in August 2021, which the federal government approved in June, has failed to meet the deadline, with universities being reluctant to proceed with the plan due to high additional costs, the Australian Financial Review has reported.
While the August deadline set by State Premier Steven Marshall has already passed, other people from the education sector have claimed that September would be the ideal time to begin pilot plans.
Under South Australia’s plan, up to 160 students were expected to arrive on chartered flights and quarantine at Parafield Airport facilities for two weeks. Universities would pay for chartered flights while students would cover quarantine and COVID-19 testing costs, Erudera.com reports.
“We’re unable to put a definitive date on it at the moment. But we’re still working towards the second half of the year, which I realise we’re in, but that’s still the intention,” the Chief Executive of StudyAdelaide, Karyn Kent told the Financial Review.
She said that cost is an important issue in the implementation of the plan, adding that hard work is being done to realize the plan.
Furthermore, the Chief Executive of the International Education Association of Australia, Phil Honeywood, said it would be “unfortunate if this plan fell over at the last hurdle,” given all the wonderful work that has been done in this regard.
Earlier in August, Australian Education Minister Alan Tudge said that many efforts had been made to continue with student pilot plans despite closure in Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, and Darwin, while described South Australia and NSW plans as “very good.”
In June this year, the State’s Chief Public Health Officer signed off on the plan to allow overseas students to return to South Australia. After a few days, the plan received the approval of the federal government, a decision that made South Australia the first Australian state to have its overseas student return plan approved by the federal government since the border closure.
“International students add so much to South Australia’s multicultural fabric along with the clear economic benefits for our CBD and our state overall, with every three students leading to the creation of one job – in 2019, almost 20,000 jobs were underpinned by international education, which is massive for our state,” Premier Steven Marshall said, pointing out that international students in South Australia contributed more than $2 billion state’s economy in 2019.
Following the approval of South Australia’s international student arrival plan, Steven Marshall assured returning Australians that they would not be affected by the plan.