ANU Rector Brian Schmidt calls for clarity before international students’ dates are set | The Canberra Times

news, federal politics, education, international students, universities, alan tudge, ANU, international travel, COVID-19

Canberra’s universities are still waiting for the ACT government to give them all the opportunity to restart their international student program. The resumption of international travel next month has created hope for the hard-hit industry, which was heavily dependent on international students. The ACT government worked towards the return of international students in early 2022, behind NSW, which aimed to have at least 500 arrived in December. Victoria has also revealed plans for 120 international students a week to arrive before Christmas. About 6,000 internationally accounted for about a third of all Australian National University students, and half were still studying externally. ANU did not have a time frame for their return, with Vice Chancellor Brian Schmidt hoping for a message “as soon as I have some clarity”. “We are shooting to have a thousand plus back for the first semester next year. I personally would like to have pretty much anyone and everyone that we can get back by the first semester next year,” he said. “But a lot of water has to flow under a bridge so it can take more than a few weeks.” MORE COVID-19 NEWS: He warned that there were still “many logistical issues” that needed to be addressed with Home Affairs, ACT and NSW, which he said would prioritize his own students. The university has quarantined Davey Lodge on campus, which would allow hundreds of students to return at a time, though Professor Schmidt said there was no “clear way” to use it. “I need help from the ACT government … just [to] understand what we need to do to make it happen, “he said. We need to start thinking about it now. “The Therapeutic Goods Administration has recommended that two vaccines not approved for use in Australia – Sinovac and Covishield – be recognized as incoming travelers, in a move that would facilitate travel from China and India. Professor Schmidt said the measure would have a “major impact” on international students.The number of international bachelor students starting full-time studies at ANU has more than halved between April 2019 and April 2020, but recovered slightly in 2021. The number of international students who began a Ph.D. d. study, followed a similar trend between 2020 and 2021, but has almost returned to its pre-pandemic levels.ANU welcomed the ACT’s commitment to return in early 2022, with a spokesman saying they would be reintegrated “safely and sensibly.” “We miss our students, and they miss us. They make a vital contribution to our campus, our community, and Canberra, “they said. ANU takes a close look at what Australia’s border opening means for our communities and operations. “Speaking to the Australian International Education Forum on Friday, Education Minister Alan Tudge warned that the impact of COVID-19 would be felt for years after international students returned. He reaffirmed that borders would remain short-lived but hoped they would be repealed next year, which enabled a shift to a demand-driven market. “My expectation is that we will have very significant numbers on the way in. I can not put a number on it yet, but my hope is that tens of thousands can return, “he said. Mr Tudge also stressed the need to diversify Australia’s international student admissions, saying five countries accounted for 72 per cent of its market against 45 percent in the UK.Although he did not explicitly name a country, the continuing tension with China has given rise to concern in a university sector that is heavily dependent on Chinese students.This threat was revealed in June 2020 when Beijing urged Chinese students to reconsider studying in Australia as it backed the federal government’s pressure for an independent inquiry into the origins of COVID-19 MORE COVID-19 NEWS: Mr Tudge called on universities to take the lead in the issue, but stressed that the government “thought deeply” about ways to avoid excessive dependence. “If a market falls suddenly, it puts financial risk on that institution and then r on taxpayers, “he said. “Ideally, we would also have a greater diversity of courses where international students enroll. And in particular, a stronger adaptation to Australian skills needs, as so many international students continue to stay long-term.” There was also the opportunity to develop a long-term market for international students who could not afford personal study, and the e-learning industry would grow from $ 130 billion to over $ 470 billion by the end of the decade, Tudge said. He said the government was working on developing its strategy to be launched later in the year. “The market is huge and compared to nations like Britain we are well behind,” he warned. “I know it’s hard to think in the medium term where we are today, but I’m convinced we will jump back.” Our coverage of the health and safety aspects of this outbreak of COVID-19 in ACT and lockdown is free for all to access. However, we rely on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you can, you can subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support. You can also sign up for our regular newsletter. 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