Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Allow International Students More Online Study in Line with Canada

UBC Irving K Barber Learning Centre
Reports indicate international students will be able to do up to 50% online study at Canadian universities and still qualify for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). For an Australian Post-Study Work Visa, international students have to be studying in Australia for 16 months and when in Australia must do 75% of their study on campus. This makes Australian universities less competitive. So I suggest the requirement for study in Australia be cut to 6 months and  25% on campus.

Canberra' universities are planning to trial special flights for returning international students. This an ambitious and  complex exercise*, however it is only a short term measure.

Universities need to, I suggest focus on quality online courses, so students can study wherever they are. Having large numbers of students coming to Australia to study for long periods is no longer a sustainable business.

In 2016 and 2017 I was one of those who warned Australian universities of the risk from international students suddenly being unable to get to campus. I suggested universities be ready with an online contingency in the short term, and transition to in the longer term to online education supplemented by a campus experience.

In February 2020 Australian universities had to scramble to implement e-learning, first for international students overseas and then domestic students, unable to get to campus due to COVID-19. Australian universities should learn from this experience and prepare transition to a sustainable hybrid model of education, rather than be unprepared for the future.

*  I received training in how to conduct an operation to repatriate people from the region at the Australian College of Defence and Strategic Studies, when working at HQ ADF.

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