Chinese education export crucial to the Australian economy
Education is one of Australia’s most valuable exports and in 2019 the income generated from international students alone was worth 37.6 billion Australian dollars. Many of Australia’s leading universities rely heavily on income from international students, with the percentage of international students at some universities being over 40 percent. Chinese students represented the largest proportion of overseas students, generating almost a third of Australia’s total international education income. By comparison, Indian students, the next most valuable international student group to the Australian economy brought in less than half the education export income of their Chinese counterparts in 2019.
Uncertainty in 2020
The education sector was one of the first Australian industries to feel the effects of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in China in late 2019. From early February, 2020, shortly before the Australian school and university year was to begin, the Australian government placed a travel ban on travelers from China. This travel ban meant that many Chinese students were unable to be in the country to start their studies at schools, universities, and vocational colleges in Australia. Furthermore, internet censorship policies in China made it difficult for universities to stream lectures and offer online courses for students in China.