Australia’s COVID-19 Restrictions’ Influence on the Education

StudyPerth starts online competition for international students

The Western Australia Government Education Promotion Institutions – StudyPerth – launches an online competition for international students who study in any Perth (Western Australia) institution and currently live in Western Australia. The competition aims to celebrate the safe neighborhood in the region during the epidemic. The campaign will commence from April 1, 2021, to June 9, 2021.

 

The prize has two-part. The minor prizes could win the GoPro, which draws in every Thursday from April 8 to May 6. The major price could win the $5000 trip for two, which takes place every Thursday from May 13 to June 10.

 

International students can participate in the competition by uploading the trip photo and video on social media with the hashtag #studyperth and tag @studyperth official account.

 

“This is an opportunity for both students and the organization side,” said Andrew, the representative of the marketing department of StudyPerth. He continued, “We hope through this campaign, international students could travel and gains a deeper understanding of Western Australia. StudyPerth could raise the organization awareness and encourage the potential customer involvement on the social media by holding this activity.”

 

“This is a good chance for international students to win the prize. I already post the travel picture on Instagram to attend the events,” said Arial, the manager of Curtain SSSA marketing department.

 

The competition has been cooperative with several non-profit international student organizations across Perth to expose the campaign to a broader audience and expecting more international students could join the competition.

 

The student claim that study at learning center is like buying degree from ANU

 

Since Australia COVID-19 travel restrictions, the Australian National University (ANU) opens several partner learning centers in China to ensure the academic success of students who remain in the PRC.

 

According to the ANU website, students will receive additional support, including academic tutoring, peer support, and a dedicated virtual experience program to keep them connected to the ANU community.

 

The university claims it cares about the students. However, students give opposite opinions in this vein.

 

“It is like buying a degree from ANU,” said Katherina, who currently studies at the Chinese partner learning center. She continued, “I was enrolled at the school at 2020 semester one. I almost finished half of my degree now. But still, I haven’t gone to Australia in one time. I don’t see the point. The potential reasons for studying in Australia are the added value of experiencing the culture of another country and the potential job opportunities in Australia in addition to a degree, but these days we pay the same tuition fees and don’t get to experience any of that. Even though we don’t have to pay the high cost of living in Australia. But still, for me, a university degree is not worth the price.”

 

Ben, who also studies at such a center, added, “Australia requires a three-year local study record in order to apply for the two-year visa period to stay after graduation. Now I possibly looking for a job in China, especially the relations between China and Australia were not good.”

 

Currently, more than half of the ANU Chinese students are in these learning centers. The question is – if the travel restriction is still exiting next semester, will Chinese students still choose Australia at that time?

 

Covid-19 and Fluctuations in Australian Higher Education

The Covid-19 pandemic causes many social changes and transformations. They bring negative economic consequences, the problems of the health care and medical system, the issues of a psychological nature, which is founded on the sharp restriction of social contacts. However, the situation regarding educational fluctuations in Australia under the influence of the pandemic is also complex and dangerous in terms of fundamental societal changes.

 

“Higher education in modern society is no less important a social institution than the economy. Economic crises and recessions, despite all their depth and destructiveness, are replaced by ups and downs, the emergence of more efficient economic models. The higher education system plays an important role in this, providing training for the necessary specialists, as well as scientific and technological developments and innovations, helping the economy to emerge from the crisis and adapt to new conditions,” says The Chancellor of the University of Melbourne Allan Myers.

 

In turn, according to Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor of the University of Sydney Stephen Garton, “Higher education also has the ability to cope with emergencies on its own, but due to its an insignificant degree of flexibility programmed for long-term cycles of the educational process and dependence on external funding, this ability is limited and may not work under certain critical conditions.” That is, existing models of higher education may undergo such profound changes under the influence of the pandemic that they will not be able to recover in their previous form.

 

A radical reduction in their funding is likely. It is obvious that in the “crazy” world of the pandemic, the Australian government will conduct a large redistribution of public funds in favor of medicine and social protection, and higher education will be forced to operate in a completely different financial regime, under which the current underfunding will be pleasant memories.

 

Then, the decline in incomes and the ability of students and their parents to pay for tuition, the inevitable deterioration in international academic mobility, and the reduction in the number of foreign students are pressing factors as well.

 

The destruction of higher education, in turn, will affect other social institutions and the overall socio-cultural dynamics.

 

Higher education has experienced deep times of crisis due to pandemics, armed civil conflicts, and world wars. However, each time the educational communities knew and believed that there would be a return to the former normal state of affairs. And this return happened sooner or later.

 

“Now, it seems that there will be no return to the “former normality” in terms of education; it will be replaced by some other, “new normality” to which we will have to adapt,” said Mr. Myers. That is, it is necessary to prepare not for the restoration of the usual format of higher education but for its fundamentally new design and organization.

 

Both the general landscape of higher education and its place among basic social institutions, its relations with the prevailing social, political and economic environment will change. There will be transformations in the internal life of universities, in management, relations between the administration and staff, the stratification of the teaching staff by age, scientific efficiency and digital competence will increase.

 

Of course, there will be no return to the old days. Therefore, it is important to develop strategic visions of adaptation of free economic zones to the “new normality” to prepare for a difficult life in the post-pandemic period.

 

Analysis

 

It seems reasonable to state that higher education in Australia is significantly affected by Covid-19 (Papadopoulos, 2021). Given the fact that this theme is essential for a plethora of Australian families and the country as a stakeholder of getting qualified specialists (Temnyalov, 2020), the topic is relevant and reasonable to discuss. The article is directly related to each of the stories because it elaborates on the issue of higher education in Australia under the current conditions of the pandemic. However, it should be admitted that the presented article focused on the dimension of higher education, the recognized representatives of which were interviewed. Such an approach implies that there are other angles from which this topic may be considered – for instance, from the perspective of primary education.

 

In the article, a feature structure was used in order to deliver the peculiarities of the current overall situation around higher education, but not to highlight a particular event – this is among the crucial differences from the news structure. The chosen approach does not contain specific dates and events that have happened or are about to take place. It also involves a greater extent of discussion in comparison with the news.

 

The pressing consequences of Covid-19 are substantially diversified and require continuous analysis in order to avert and deal with the related hazards. Australian higher education is among the most vulnerable fields in this regard (Ziguras, 2021); hence, the given stories are newsworthy and proper to publish by an online newspaper. The latter would do this due to an in-depth analysis of critical factors within the scope of the theme that will be significantly interesting for the knowledgeable audience. Often, it has a high value for recognized publishers. Given this, the article follows a formal tone, utilizes a number of complex words, as well as uses complicated sentence structures.

 

At this point, it seems rational to describe the occurred challenges during the process of writing the article. First, it is an enormous amount of available information to take into account while investigating the topic. It was important to sort the available sources appropriately and choose the most relevant ones. Second, it was quite difficult to reach the interviewees, given that both of them occupy the leading positions in their universities and have little free time.

 

In this vein, I had to develop a comprehensive set of questions and send them to these interviewees via e-mail. Third, it was challenging to bring together the background that was obtained after research and the answers from the educational establishments’ leaders. This required an in-depth understanding of the issue so that the material could be delivered coherently and reasonably.

 

Finally, it might be assumed that the folio follows the best professional journalistic writing practices. All the claims are cited and presented properly, the overall tone and style suit the intended audience’s preferences, and the train of thought is coherent and consistent. The crucial aspects of a feature article were taken into account and applied.

 

Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor of the University of Sydney Stephen Garton – vice.chancellor@sydney.edu.au

 

The Chancellor of the University of Melbourne Allan Myers – chancellor@unimelb.edu.au

References

Temnyalov, E. (2020). Some Australian universities might have to merge – and that’s not necessarily a bad thingThe Conversation. Web.

Papadopoulos, N. (2021). Australian universities offer rebates to foreign students stranded overseas due to the coronavirusABC News. Web.

Ziguras, C. (2021). The government keeps shelving plans to bring international students back to Australia. It owes them an explanationThe Conversation. Web.

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