Universities hope vaccination delays won’t hinder return of international students12th April 2021
The $40 billion a year international education sector is warning it cannot afford to lose a third academic year before international students return to Australia as universities hope rollout delays of COVID-19 vaccines will not further restrict intakes.
Western Sydney University vice-chancellor Barney Glover said he hopes the vaccine rollout will not impact on a program designed for the safe return of international students in modest numbers.
A “safe corridors proposal” for the return of overseas students to NSW would start with small numbers and progressively increase to a maximum of up to 600 each fortnight, pending federal government approval.
“I am hoping that the challenges around the vaccine program in Australia are not going to adversely affect the very modest trial of students coming inbound who will be required to be tested before departure and be tested during quarantine and will do full quarantine here under the strict arrangements that apply to NSW hotel quarantine,” Professor Glover said.
Phil Honeywood the chief executive officer of International Education Association of Australia which represents private and public providers of education for international students said there was “no way the $40 billion a year industry could withstand the loss of a third academic year next year”.
“The government will need to provide a vaccine passport as soon as possible so that students currently stranded in their home countries will be able to return to complete their studies,” he said.
UTS deputy vice-chancellor and vice-president (international) Iain Watt said it was unclear whether there is any relationship between the vaccination of the Australian population and students being allowed to travel as normal.
“It’s not possible to make any assessment of what if any impact a delay in vaccinating Australians might have,” he said.
Federal Education Minister Alan Tudge said national cabinet has asked for advice on how the vaccine rollout will impact future requirements for quarantine and international travel.