Bushfires Impacting Australia’s International Education Sector

Feb 5, 2020
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The recent catastrophic bushfires in various regions across Australia have severely impacted the Australian economy. Environment experts say the bush fires are going to even worsen in the coming years. It can also have a damaging and long-term effect on Australia’s education sector. 

International Education sector, being the third most valuable export for the country, has also been impacted by this catastrophic bushfires. The fire damaging some teaching facilities and surroundings have affected Institutions and Universities in many regional areas. Some of the Universities have also closed their branches due to heavy smoke.

The Australian Government and all the Universities are now trying to come together on this which is the need of the hour. They have addressed all concerns on the safety and health impact of the devastating summer. This sector now requires a marketing campaign in order to safeguard Australia’s reputation. All the stakeholders have made a genuine attempt to cater to the widespread worries on social media regarding bushfires in Australia. 

What’s been done so far to tackle bushfires?

The Australian Government is keeping a close watch on the present situation and monitoring to develop a well-defined communication strategy. It is essential in order to symbolize the world that Australia is open for business and is still home to some of the world’s top Universities. Gaining international experience in Australia is still going to add a lot of value to the international students. There is obviously a false perception that the entire continent is burning. It is absolutely not true. Prime Minister Scott Morrison also intervened to get the United States to tone down its advisory of not travelling to Australia. Not only this, they have communicated this information to other countries around the world as well.

Commuters in Melbourne suffering heavy smoke

There were several concerns raised on inaccurate maps and representations of the bushfires shared on various online websites and social media. The Government focuses on coming out with a real picture of the scenario to address this misinformation. Presently, a very small number of Universities seem to be impacted by bushfires. But, this can impact other education providers as well if appropriate steps are not taken immediately. The major concern has primarily been among Asian students and families. These concerns have been raised by overseas education agents which are the primary source of sending a lot of Asian students.

Is Australia losing the battle to other countries due to bushfires ?

The world is extremely competitive nowadays. Australian education is always getting tough competition from the US education sector, Canada education sector and the UK education sector. That is why students will obviously prefer other countries when perceptions of smoke haze will act as a deciding factor. All the top international news media have covered Australian bushfires as a major discussion point in their debates. This debate is really important considering the rapid climate change happening. It also helps to put pressure on the relevant stakeholders including the Government to take relevant steps in the right direction. There has been an immense social media buzz on bushfires. It will ultimately make the international student think whether to study in Australia or not.

Conclusion

This topic is of major concern now as it is estimated to hit one of the most profitable sectors of Australia. The universities have tried to tackle the issue by addressing all the students in the best possible way. Though Australia has witnessed bushfires in the past as well, yet one shouldn’t forget the impact of climate change. It has made 2019-20 bushfires one of the biggest bushfires in history. This issue can be solved if all the stakeholders come together to solve the issue with the right intent and a well-structured approach. It requires well-targeted communication to prospective international students through the right media.