Greens Member of The New South Wales Parliament David Shoebridge has criticised “the failure of the Morrison Government to build a safe, reliable and effective public quarantine system for international students.”
Mr Shoebridge said, “Right now, universities and students are united in trying to find a pathway for international students to return.”
- Indian High Commissioner to Australia Manpreet Vohra raised concerns about the return of Indian international students.
- The number of Indian students enrolled in Australian universities dropped by 13 per cent between January and May.
- Greens MP David Shoebridge calls for a safe, reliable pathway for international students to return.
“The refusal of the Coalition government to lift restrictions on student travel and create safe quarantine facilities to allow this to happen is especially hurting students from India who have paid significant fees and are facing months more of sub-standard online learning.’, Mr Shoebridge added.
“This is a serious crisis in higher education, and it won’t be fixed until we have a Federal Government that cares about its impact on students and universities,” Mr Shoebridge said.
Australia’s failure to support its international students during the COVID-19 crisis will also ‘deplete Australia’s soft power reserves’, according to a Lowy Institute report that also says that international students are thus a powerful resource for Australia’s diplomatic, economic and strategic engagement.
According to Lowy Institute, the federal government’s treatment of international students since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic does not augur well for Australia’s future soft power.
Early changes to relax visa requirements and the cap on working hours for students in essential industries led to criticism that these measures would be insufficient for international students to sustain their livelihoods. So, the government suggested that international students could simply “return home”.
IDP Connect’s report for Australian National University shows Australia’s share of the education market has fallen to 11.74% from over 18% over two years.
According to the Department of Education, Skills and Employment, the number of Indian students enrolled in Australian universities dropped by 13 per cent between January and May this year compared to the previous year.