There was yet another story yesterday about unis with a plan to fly in international students, if only (insert choice of state or federal minister here) would act
There are understandable reasons why state and federal governments keep passing the ball. Bringing in international students when vocal Australians are still trapped overseas would not be popular and imagine the outrage if a state was lock-downed because of an outbreak traced to international students.
There’s another problem with plans to start bring international education back to the way it was.
What happens if COVID-19 isn’t temporary but a transformation and fewer internationals want to pay top whack for a study-experience in Australia?
What happens if the growth markets for Australian providers aren’t on campuses here but in students’ own countries, or on-line.
And what happens if the big area of new demand will be for accredited competencies, not traditional degrees.
Education Minister Alan Tudge appears to get this. As he said last week, “the global on-line e-learning market is forecast to grow from $130 bn to more than $470 bn by 2026. This growth is driven by students around the world seeking lower-cost education, as well as greater flexibility in how and where they learn,” (CMM March 31).
Of course, this may not matter. Perhaps international students will come back in the numbers they used to and the big challenge is to make things the way they were.
Just like the recorded music industry tried to do 20 years ago.