The Department of Education, Skills and Employment recently released a research snapshot on the education export income (by countries) and valued the burgeoning sector to be contributing $37.6 Billion Dollars to the Australian economy.
Education is the 4th largest export for Australia
International education supports 250,000 jobs nationally
China (30%) and India (13%) continue to be the largest key markets
China contributes $12,095 million and India's contribution is at $5,495 million
Unfortunately, the world is slowly getting grips to the gigantic scale of the Coronavirus pandemic and already the numbers are starting to create a turbulence as far as International Education and the reliance of China as the key target market. There are over 100,000 student visa holders who are currently in mainland China and are facing travel bans to commence with their studies in Australia.
On 21 January 2020, the Minister for Education, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, announced the formation of the Global Reputation Taskforce (Taskforce), under the leadership of the Council for International Education. The Taskforce was formed to shape Australia’s response in times of reputational damage or significant external risk to the sector and to accelerate efforts to build a strong cohesive national brand for international education. (https://internationaleducation.gov.au/News/Latest-News/Pages/Novel-coronavirus-update-for-international-students.aspx) The data released by this task force puts the number of students holding a valid visa who are currently in China at 100,000+. This has put most of the universities and TAFE's in a unique difficulty - how to respond and take action. Whilst, there has been a number of responses via each provider, its a bit of wait and watch as to how the industry finally recovers out of this.
Interestingly, the impact of this on China could potentially mean ease of student visa restrictions for key market #2 - India. Quite recently, India (along with Pakistan, Nepal) were put on "high risk" levels for Australian student visas assessment. Now, with the impact that coronavirus is causing for Chinese students, there is a big speculation that India might be moved to risk assessment level 2, thus making it easier for potential students to apply from India and overall not disturbing the equilibrium of the contribution of international education to the Australian economy.
The impact of coronavirus and the response to this crisis is bound to have a lasting impact on the industry and we as stakeholders in this, keenly look forward to the triumph of human endeavours against this global epidemic.