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The Impact Of Covid-19 Pandemic On Universities In Australia

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Covid-19 Pandemic
 Admin  May 13, 2020  Assignment  0

The COVID-19 pandemic has definitely cast a huge cloud over the education process, landing almost 72% of the students in trouble, worldwide. And, students in Australia are also facing similar consequences.

Financial Impact on Universities

The condition has certainly worsened in the past few days. This is evident from the fact the Australian government has announced an emergency package for the leading universities. Furthermore, initiatives are being taken for funding retraining courses to develop the skillset of the unemployed.

According to Catriona Jackson, Universities Australia Chief Executive, there will be a significant dwindle in the university enrolments. This is because the prospective International students are under lockdown in their countries. Thus, the universities have approached the Government to ensure their domestic student load.

It is being predicted that there will be a drop of 16 percent (21,000 University jobs) in employment. A total of AUS$18 billion for the domestic enrolments and another AUS$100 million for the deferrals and fee relief has been assured. It has also been predicted that the revenues across Australia’s universities will decline by $4.6 billion, owing to the Coronavirus outbreak.

Assistance to the International Students

Most universities in Australia have announced relief measures for the International students. For instance, Deakin University has allocated up to AUD$25 million, for the overseas students who might be facing hardships. Incentives were handed out to the foreign students so that they can travel to their homeland or travel top Australia via a third country.

Meanwhile, universities have approached governments to provide hardship payments to the students, who are unable to pay the tuition fees. Some of the universities have taken matters into their own hands and have handed over close $7,500. The higher education institutions have also asked for the Government’s jobkeeper payments, when the revenue fell by 15 percent.

In addition to this, the universities have paced their support services and are offering 20% and 25% fee waiver scholarships. And, if the students are unfamiliar with the online learning and wish to withdraw before the census date, a full refund has been guaranteed. In fact, a few universities have extended the assignment due dates, and the students won't have to show a doctor's certificate.

E-Learning- The Only Means to Continue Education

Teachers in Australia are relying on video conferencing platforms to like Zoom or Skype, for conducting classes virtually. Moreover, they are taking the help of Google Classroom and Moodle, for distributing and grading assignments. In addition to this, discussions are being held on Facebook education groups, to clarify doubts.

The faculties are also using emails to send course materials, syllabus and assignments to the students. However, the impact of COVID-19 on underprivileged children, such as the native Aboriginals is a matter of concern. Hence, the government and the institutions are providing digital equipment to poverty-stricken students.

Many universities have accomplished in transitioning the courses online. These include the University of Melbourne, University of Adelaide, University of Queensland, University of Technology, Sydney and many more. The government has even encouraged university students to take up short courses like Allied Health, Mathematics, English, IT, etc., instead of wasting time on Netflix. And, the courses vary from diploma level to graduate certificates.

Further Insight into the Impact and the Response

As per the reports, the Department of Education is regularly meeting with the state and territory counterparts to prepare Australian education to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 pandemic. But, now that the number of cases in Australia is declining, concerned authorities are mulling some form of face-to-face teaching, such as the Monash University and the University of Western Australia.

In order to minimise the unemployment rate amid the COVID-19 pandemic, CGS (Commonwealth Grant Scheme) and HELP funding have been offered. Moreover, three planks of policy have been passed so as to guarantee the payments of the domestic students. These steps ensure the financial recovery of the universities, which will ultimately lead to the GDP recovery of Australia.

Now, the focus is on the reduction of the course fee, as the courses have moved to an online model. With this scheme, the students will be able to graduate on-time. Media organisations in Australia are also trying to promote the cause, just like BBC has done with its Bitesize Daily. To support the large-scale e-learning process, cloud platforms are being deployed to handle the servers and ensure reliable connectivity.

As you can see, the universities are going out of their way to support both domestic and international students. However, the Australian government should consider the pleas made by the institutions as well the student communities, for the benefit of the learners. And measures need to be taken so that all the students get access to the equipment, required for studies.

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Although the COVID-19 has brought about a disruption in the education process,  that does not mean one should discontinue their studies. The UNESCO also believes that, and steps are being taken to ensure that students receive all the study materials. In the meantime, if you face any issues, you can take the help of tophomeworkhelper.com native experts, who are graduates from the prestigious alma maters in Australia.

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