It’s a matter without a shadow of doubt that covid-19 has altered the dynamics of the planet in multifarious ways, and international student recruitment is no exception, says Sekhar Bhupathi.
But we need to assess and analyze the variance of the impact country wise.
I am here to present the Indian perspective, having been in the field of international student recruitment for the last 17 years.
There is a dent in the psyche of both parents and students in terms of mobility during the days of the pandemic. Though there is no exact statistical evidence, there is a rough approximation that close to 55% of students either dropped their plans or postponed. The remaining 45% are willing to travel, but uncertainty emanating from the current chaotic situation is acting as a stumbling block.
The factors like the government policy, cost of quarantine and welcoming posture of policymakers in determining students’ choice.
When we compare and contrast the three most popular destinations for international students, USA, UK and Australia. Australia is losing out in a big way. Let us analyze.
There is growing among students from India for the USA, and this is being abetted by the welcoming posture of the current democratic government. The defeat of Trump acted as a massive booster on the psychological front. For example, a bill is introduced in Senate to remove the country-wise quota system in allocating green cards. This is a considerable advantage to Indians. Universities are taking plenty of proactive measures to boost the morale of international. It is most likely that the USA will grab most international students in the next two years.
The UK is also very keen on attracting international students. They have a clear cut quarantine policy and vaccination system to ensure the safety of the public. Heathrow airport has earmarked terminal 3 exclusively for red-listed countries and ensuring 11-day quarantine in earmarked destinations. Of course, quarantine costs are a little prohibitive, but some universities are coming forward to share the cost. This and many other measures are making the UK the second most attractive destination for students from India.
It is here that Australia is losing in a big way in this multi-billion dollar industry by imposing a strict ban. Public health is to be given top priority, but there can be a model that safeguards public health and allows international students. The policymakers can develop a model. The immediate impact is global student market to Australia is dried up, and a more dangerous trend is the gradual fading away of Australia from the minds of students and parents. This will have a disastrous impact in the long run. The million-dollar question is why Australia cannot develop a model to safeguard public health and invite international students by adopting a strict quarantine policy, covid testing, and mandatory vaccination.
It’s high time for policymakers in Australia to take a call or be prepared for a colossal dent not only in the short term but also in the long term.
Let the cancer be addressed sooner than later.
Sekhar Bhupathi is into the vertical of overseas education and immigration for 18 years heading a company called IAEC consultants Pvt Ltd. He is known for his leadership qualities and thorough grasp of trends in the field of overseas education.He has addressed more than 1000 seminars helping students aspiring to study in various destinations like Australia USA UK etc.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the editorial views or position of NRI Affairs.