Australian Minister of Education “optimistic” about the return of international students

Australia’s Minister of Education Alan Tudge said he was optimistic about the outlook for the recovery of the international student sector.

The last 18 months have been tough for the international education sector, Tudge told the Australian International Education Conference on October 8.

Since this time in 2019, the number of students enrolled in English providers has decreased by 70%, while the number of enrollments in public universities as a whole has decreased by 17%.

“In contrast to the Chinese market, providers that rely on India, Nepal and Vietnam have also been hit hard,” said Tudge.

However, the Federal Minister of Education is optimistic about the future path given the rising national immunization rates.

Australia is approaching its 70% and 80% immunization goals. According to the national plan to reopen the country, 70% of international students will begin to return to Australia, and then 80% and even more will be able to return to Australia.

Tudge has promised to introduce a mechanism that will allow a large number of international arrivals to enter the country safely.

This month, the International COVID-19 Vaccine Certificate will be introduced. Currently, this certificate is for Australians traveling abroad, but is expected to be extended to certify vaccination certificates issued in other countries.

Tudge expects a small number of international students to return to Australia later this year. Meanwhile, the Victoria State Government has already submitted a return plan for international students to the federal government on October 7. The plan is currently under consideration.

If approved, hundreds of students are expected to return to study in Victoria at the end of the year.

In the first phase of the plan, priority is given to enrolled students, such as medical students and health students, who have completed a bachelor’s degree or graduate study. Up to 120 locations are held weekly for international university students.

Stage 2 covers the arrival of international students enrolled in TAFE, English courses, private universities, and secondary schools.

In New South Wales, 500 international students are expected to return in December.

The International Council for Education is working with South Australia on the final details of the pilot program approved in June this year.

Prior to the pandemic, international education was Australia’s third largest export sector, with 2019 revenues of $ 37.6 billion.

Since the pandemic, about 17,300 university jobs have been reduced nationwide.

International education revenues for 2020-21 will decline 28% to $ 26.7 billion and are expected to decline at current rates by the end of the year if the blockade continues.

Marina Chan