Tudge criticised for lack of university support

The NTEU has criticised the federal government's lack of support for international students.

Education Minister Alan Tudge’s announcement of $53.6 million support for private international education providers, and nothing for public universities, doesn’t address the fundamental issues affecting the international student sector in Australia, The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) said.

“International students want to come to Australia to learn face-to-face rather than online. But this is not happening because of the government’s continued border closures, which won’t change until the government gets it right with the COVID vaccination program,” NTEU National President Dr Alison Barnes said.

“We welcome the fact that the government is finally recognising that the loss of international students has greatly affected the higher education sector, if only for the private providers, and acknowledge that for many providers, international student fees are most of their revenue.”

“But the downturn in international student income has contributed to the over 17,000 jobs lost at universities over the last 12 months, many of which could have been saved if the government had allowed universities to access JobKeeper or provided a real rescue package.”

“Being slow with the COVID vaccination program and re-opening borders means that it’s still uncertain whether or not international students will be able to return for 2022. The current crisis affecting both public and private providers is likely to get worse.”

“A survey of over 6,000 international students released on 28 April by IDP Connect indicated that most students prefer to study face-to-face rather than online. Countries that have remained open to students are more favoured – mainly Canada and the UK.”

“Australia has become less favoured after the negative international publicity when Scott Morrison told international students they should go home, and refused any kind of assistance.”

“In 2019 international students contributed $40 billion to the Australian economy and was our fourth largest export industry.  The Morrison Government’s shortsightedness continues to threaten this valuable contribution.”

Story source: National Tertiary Education Union

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