- Australian international students decrease as national borders remain closed to the public.
- The Government and Universities must take an active role in reviving their reputation as the key players in the edu-migration system.
- Australia still has the highest concentration of international students despite a drop in the number of applications.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected the education system in Australia, with the number of applications for international students steadily declining.
According to The Australian, the country has lost over 100,000 overseas students, 60,000 student visa holders have left, and students enrolled in English Language classes have dropped from 19,000 to 3,000 since July.
Although the number of international students in Australia has decreased significantly, it still boasts the highest concentration of international students in any country.
However, even as the Australian institutions and national government remain essential stakeholders in the edu-migration system, they have made no progress in recruiting international students because national borders remain closed to visitors. Whatever way students plan to study in Australia, other countries give them more convenience, causing many to change their routes of choice.
Students who still want to study in Australia are encouraged to take virtual classes until national borders are opened to the public.
An agency in the East and West African regions announced that they would prioritize Australian student visa applications for those who began their studies virtually, as visa processing delays will start once the borders are opened.
Many students want to start their studies physically. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is far from possible. According to Our World in Data, just 12.12 percent of people in Australia have had full COVID-19 vaccination. Hence, Australia’s reopening of its borders will take longer than expected.
Cutting foreign student numbers in half to more closely resemble developed country norms is a sensible strategy to restore Australian institutions’ status as vital actors in the edu-migration system. If the government and universities in Australia want to keep up with the competition, they must revert to their original mission of educating Australian and foreign students and providing high-quality education.
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