Alan Tudge, the Federal Education Minister Australia said that the government is not planning to bring international students in large numbers until 2022. Further decisions will be taken based on the effective results of the vaccine drive. Alan Tudge, the Federal Education Minister Australia in a speech at RMIT Melbourne indicated that the Australian government is not willing to open borders for international students anytime soon as a safety measure amidst the pandemic. He said that the government has been coordinating with the medical experts since the beginning of the pandemic to bring international students but the present unprecedented situation does not allow them to make a decision. He further said that the vaccination drive in Australia will play an important role in determining the timing to reopen borders. His emphasis was on expanding the online courses to target international students until there is a definite plan to bring back students to Australia.
However, he said that there is a possibility of bringing a small group of international students through the pilot programme which would be possible only if the state, territory and institutions have a strategic plan to quarantine students travelling from foreign countries. The plan must be approved by the Chief Health Officer of State/ Territory.
The positive aspect of the current situation is that the New South Wales, South Australian and Victorian governments have indicated their plans to bring back international students in their respective state in small numbers.
The chief executive of Universities Australia Catriona Jackson said that they are looking forward to bringing international students back safely once the situation is under control. He added that they are working closely with the government to deal with the situation in challenging times. She also said that the Australian universities are working closely with the state and territory governments to plan and bring international students to Australia safely and with a strategic plan.
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