Universities must move swiftly to attend to students’ needs when borders reopen if Australia is to regain market share in the face of fierce global competition.
Revenue fell by more than $2 billion in 2020 – less than feared – but universities are increasingly vulnerable to worsening conditions, with losses of international students accelerating.
Many universities overseas have already made vaccination a condition of being allowed on campus. There are precedents for this policy, which is based on strong public health and economic grounds.
International student demand for places in Australia has fallen by a third over the course of the pandemic, while for our key competitors demand has remained stable or even increased.
With ideological issues such as Hong Kong and Taiwan, lecturers told of how a vocal minority of international Chinese students are attempting to police teaching materials and class discussions.
A new report has found students and academics critical of China’s Communist Party are being harassed and intimidated by supporters of Beijing. Universities must do more to protect academic freedom.
Managing academic expectations, culture shock, language barriers and financial constraints amid concerns about viral safety are some of the intersecting stressors faced by international students.
International students are a vulnerable population who have faced many stressors in the COVID-19 pandemic. Emotional intelligence can help navigate these.
Bianca De Marchi/AAP
To calculate the cost of Australia’s closed border, we’ve focused on estimating losses from international tourists and students.
About half of New Zealand’s Māori, Pasifika and Asian populations reported experiencing more racism and discrimination since the COVID-19 pandemic, compared to about a third of European New Zealanders.
The budget splashed out extra money for almost every sector deemed important to economic recovery (or politically sensitive). But with universities in a state of financial crisis, they missed out.
Tuesday’s budget shows a reversion back to the previous policy of keeping total higher education funding broadly stable.
Once seen as mainly as a source of international students, China has for a decade been strategically repositioning itself as a provider of international education.
International students have been admirably persistent in studying online for more than a year. But as other countries open their doors, Australia risks losing them if it fails to show they are wanted.
Our current quarantine capacity would take six months to handle the return of 150,000 existing students, but 70,000 new students every six months would also be needed to halt the fall in enrolments.
Universities and the international education sector have developed a number of concrete plans to bring international students to Australia. But they have all been shelved without a clear explanation.
The shift online demonstrated the convenience of distance learning and has convinced some learners, including workers and unemployed people, to study.
The forced transition to online university learning will mean teaching practices will be permanently changed.
Even before the pandemic added to their financial stresses, a survey of international students suggests more than 20,000 were renting beds that are available to them for only certain hours.
University of Melbourne/Twitter
The focus on rankings has been more a symptom than a cause of the challenge Australian universities face, namely a structural change in their revenue base.
Food insecurity affected many students even before the pandemic hit, with international students the worst hit. But students and universities have shown a lot can be done to end the problem.
Chinese international students stuck offshore due to border closures face shame, family tension and pressure to give up their dreams of studying in Australia. Some are even being urged to get married.