Australian Govt Supports Return of Chinese Students to Country’s Universities, Federal Treasurer Says
Higher Education News
May 19, 2021
The Australian government supports the return of the Chinese students to the country’s universities, the Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said while speaking at a Business SA breakfast two days ago.
According to him, the Federal Government has made an assumption that Australia will begin returning international students by the end of 2021, which issue has been the point of discussion between state governments and universities regarding the quarantine settlements.
While responding to the question of Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Noel Lindsay if Australia should ignore China and “take them out of the equation” following aggravation in trade and diplomatic disputes, Frydenberg said he hopes Chinese students will be able to return back to the country.
“Certainly, our intent is to support the international student sector by enabling these cohorts to arrive,” he emphasized.
Furthermore, Frydenberg said that Australia will continue to be consistent and clear regarding the country’s national interest, whether it is related to investment, human rights, or international security.
“I feel like it is an important time for Australia, and we have to be wary of the changes in the global strategic environment, and we need to be clear and consistent on those issues, which is what we’re seeking to do,” he added.
Frydenberg described the relations between China and Australia as “challenging,” yet he said that cooperation between the two countries in economic terms continued to be beneficial for the two sides.
International education in South Australia is worth $2 billion, and according to data by the Centre for Independent Studies 2019, Chinese students accounted for about half of international students at the University of Adelaide.
Adelaide Uni board member Christine Locher told Frydenberg that education was among the top three exports in South Australia; therefore, the return of international students in the country is “critical.”
Regarding the reports that the federal government decided not to review $1 billion in research funding, Frydenberg said that the government had allocated $19 million for universities.
When the relations between Canberra and Beijing worsened last year after Australia urged for an international investigation over the COVID-19 origins and introduced international interference laws, China had responded by introducing trade reprisals over the main exports in Australia, including wine, coal, seafood, etc.
Earlier this month, it was reported that Australia’s federal government is planning to close the Chinese learning centers, Confucius Institutes suspecting that the latter is connected with the Communist Party.
Australia has experienced a significant decrease in the number of international students enrolled at the country’s universities, with 43,000 fewer students compared to a year before.
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