Australia to Set Up 600-Bed Quarantine Facility & Return Int’l Students in August

Australia Oceania COVID-19 Higher Education News by Erudera News May 14, 2021


New South Wales is planning to welcome international students back within the next few months by setting up a 600-bed quarantine facility.

According to the state treasurer, Dominic Perrottet, some students could return as early as semester two, starting in August, reports.

Moreover, the chief executive of the International Education Association of Australia, Phil Honeywood, confirmed the 600-bed quarantine student accommodation had been approved to switch to a quarantine facility for returning students.

According to the plan, students would be quarantined in these facilities for 14 days. Student arrivals will be counted under a separate arrival cap without interfering with Australian citizens’ returns.

They are only going to start with small numbers, to begin with, in the low hundreds, in order to prove the model,” Honeywood noted.

He also said that the plan has been approved by the New South Wales Department of Premier and Cabinet and inspected by the police and government.

Furthermore, the state treasurer Perrottet said the plan to bring international students back to Australia, potentially at the start of the second semester, is being finalized.

“This is about finding a way to bring students back but not at the expense of the weekly cap of Australian citizens arriving back in NSW … If we don’t address this issue then I believe we’ll have an industry on its knees and one that will look elsewhere,” Perrottet said.

For the plan to be implemented, it has to be approved by the federal education minister, Alan Tudge, who just recently said that international students will not be able to return to Australia until 2022.

Australia has experienced a shortfall in international students, counting 43,000 less students compared to last year. According to the federal government data, universities across the country are experiencing a decrease in the number of international student admissions since the pandemic erupted.

Several universities in Australia have offered discounts for online learning, making it possible for students to continue their studies remotely.

Chinese enrolments have decreased by 22 percent, marking 12,454 new students at Australian universities, whereas the number of new enrolments from India has halved, counting 4,343 enrolments in February 2021. 

The decrease in the number of Indian students has been partially attributed to the increase in the number of students enrolled at VET (vocational education and training), since over 8,000 students enrolled in vocational education this year, compared to 4,499 in 2019.

Most recently, a survey by IDP, the student recruitment agency, has revealed that only 7 percent of students enrolled at Australian universities would like to pursue studies online.   

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