International education: realism and optimism

Lobbyists want governments to open-up for appropriately quarantined international students. The feds are not for pushing

Federal education minister Dan Tehan made that plain on Radio National early yesterday.

Mr Tehan said quarantine plans are in from WA and the Northern Territory, one from NSW is expected, the ACT, Victoria and SA need more time and he was waiting for advice from Queensland and Tasmania.  As to where students accepted are quarantined, that’s up to state and territory chief medical officers.

But will not Canada and the UK, lure students away? Mr Tehan responded neither nation is as successful as Australia in controlling COVID-19. Which rather makes the core policy point, “we have to take into consideration how we have dealt with the coronavirus pandemic in this nation, and then look at how we can safely bring international students back.”

There was similar realism on international education when the Council for International Education met later in the day

The council consists of Mr Tehan and five other ministers, with eleven “international education experts and practitioners.”

The council communique includes optimism, “As countries around the world look to their skilled workforces to lead economic recovery from the impacts of the pandemic, Australia has a key role to play.”

“Australia’s world class institutions and liveable cities will remain a drawcard for those seeking an overseas study experience, while the nation’s success in managing and then recovery from COVID-19 will do much to reassure students and their families.”

But there is also realism, with a new strategy to be created by mid-year; “reflecting both new trends and enduring strengths, it will enable the sector to diversify, provide greater connections and opportunities for students and providers.”

How do you say “elephant in the room” in Mandarin?