Australia’s higher education sector contributed around $40 billion to the export revenue in the year 2019. However, the year 2020 had entirely a different plan. After almost nine months of border closures, halted international study plans, and job losses, the COVID-19 vaccine has finally provided us with some hope. With the industry desperate for the revival of international education, universities are planning to get back foreign students.
A Ray of Hope Brought by COVID-19 Vaccine
The UK recently approved the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Besides, other countries are also rolling out tests for the COVID-19 vaccines. We cannot expect everything to be normal immediately. Though, the latest news of the COVID-19 vaccine has brought a ray of hope for a safer environment to travel and study.
Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) recently conducted a survey of 887 international students. This was done to explore the impact on the study plans brought by the pandemic. Unsurprisingly, 21% of the surveyed prospective international students preferred to bring forward their plans to study abroad. Though 43% have no desire to change their plans yet, some are waiting for vaccine availability to all, and others are planning to resume once things get back normal in 2021.
A Special Pilot Program to Bring International Students
Charles Darwin University (CDU) has become the first university in Australia to successfully bring 63 students as a part of a pilot program. Students from different countries including China, Hong Kong, Japan, Vietnam, and Indonesia have now been brought into Australia. This program signals a crucial initiation in the recovery of the international education sector in Australia.
Plan to Bring Indian International Students to Australia
India is the second main source country for international students in Australia. In 2019, Indian students covered almost 15% of Australia’s international student population. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, many students have either gone back or remained stranded or deferred their international travel and study plans. However, Charles Darwin University is in its preparations to arrange charter flights from India to bring back international students. In a conversation with SBS Punjabi, a CDU spokesperson signaled a positive interest in bringing Indian students back on-campus in early 2021. Though, the authorities will be confirming their decision regarding this soon.
The vaccine development has definitely brought good news to the higher education sector, universities, international students, and education agents alike. Australian education institutions are now beginning to look at options for the revival of the international student market. Whether soon or later, we can expect universities to resume face-to-face classes in the 2021 academic year.