Unis powerless as China ban extended, again

The government announces no students from China for another week

The extension of the ban on all arrivals from China was announced last night. It will be reviewed in seven days.

The announcement was expected by higher education leaders, and HE observers suggest there is sod-all the industry can do to significantly reduce the impact of what is now a disaster.

As peak body statements demonstrated last night.

Universities Australia’s Catriona Jackson said, “it had been ready for all possible decisions and planned accordingly.  … Universities are working hard to offer students who remain in China a range of options.  These include being able to access course content online, postponing course start dates, delaying assessments or offering fee-free deferrals.”

And Vicki Thomson, from the Group of Eight said it will “continue to work with our government and the Chinese Embassy, our affected students and their families, on strategies to ensure that there are a range of temporary study options available so the disruption is as minimal as we can possibly make it. “

Which is pretty much all they can say for who knows, how long. The government has now locked itself into a position where it dares not lift the ban on people arriving from China while there is a risk of Australians being infected with 2019-nCoV in Australia. If the virus rolls out around the world this might not make much medical sense but the politics are plain.

International education observers are writing-off first semester fees from anything up to all the 100 000 Chinese students now outside Australia. They are starting to wonder how many of them – and people due to start in second semester, will ever arrive.