Australia is dangerously near to meeting crucial vaccine objectives that would allow for more open international borders, according to the country’s education minister at English Australia’s annual conference.
Australia’s minister for education and youth, began the event last week, stating that the ELICOS industry had been “struck as hard as any other section of our economy” in the previous 18 months.
We are dangerously near to meeting the critical vaccination objectives of 70% and 80%. That is when the economy will open up and international borders will be more open, especially for international students, as clearly specified in the national plan.
Vaccine certificates can be connected to passports in order to determine the vaccination status of visitors entering Australia.
The minister went on to say that the government had tried to really get behind and support the ELICOS sector over the last 18 months, with dedicated funding and support, including the Innovation Fund for the sector, in addition to the broader business support put in place by the government, such as JobKeeper.
The industry is an important part of our society because it educates individuals who come to our country, especially in terms of developing their talents for future study, and many of them go on to become great Australians.
The 2021 English Australia Conference, entitled ‘360 degrees: reflections, transformations, and new views,’ was fully virtual, with almost 800 participants and over 70 speakers participating in intelligent conversations online, spanning more than 40 sessions stretched over a whole week.
Other significant themes that emerged from the conference talks included Phil Honeywood, CEO of IEAA, advocating for a need for high-quality foreign students to address the STEM skills gap in the Australian employment market. More migration routes are required to support them.
Eliza Chui, Austrade’s international education special project head, emphasised the department’s marketing and promotional strategy for foreign education in order to rebuild the industry once borders reopen.
It should consist of three stages: recovery, renewal, and resilience. She noted that in a Covid-19 regular world, students could be able to vary their education trajectory by studying from home, in Australia, or from a third nation.
Austrade, she noted, will lead the industry’s attempts to make overseas students feel safer and more welcome in Australia, and is in the midst of creating an Alumni Series to help with this.
In order to ensure long-term viability, the department will also investigate market diversification beyond India and China. She also emphasised the government’s initiatives under the Study Australia platform, such as the recently created Study Australia employment portal.
One of the conference’s key attractions was the session on Student Voices, in which both onshore and offshore students discussed their experiences and the obstacles they experienced during the epidemic.
The CEO of English Australia delivered the closing remarks at the conference, echoing the minister’s optimism at the outset by comparing the English language fraternity to a plane on the runway, with the need to immediately fill the plane with ELICOS students once the borders re-open.