Minister for Education Dan Tehan said he was impressed by how the Australian education sector was working with the Government to minimise the impacts of the coronavirus after the latest round of sector updates today.
On Monday, the Departments of Education, Home Affairs, Border Security and the Chief Medical Officer’s Office provided updates to 39 university vice chancellors about the Government’s response to the coronavirus. Last night Mr Tehan met with Universities Australia and today the Global Reputation Taskforce convened a meeting.
“The safety of Australians is our Government’s number one priority,” Mr Tehan said.
“We are also focussed on minimising the impact of the virus on our international students and ensuring they have options to continue their education. Just as importantly, we acknowledge that international students are part of our community – they are our friends, our neighbours, our colleagues and our classmates and this situation is impacting on them personally.
“We all want things to return to normal as soon as possible and until then we are all working on solutions that will minimise the impact of the virus on Australia and all our students.
“Our Government has maintained an open and continuous communications channel with the sector as we all work together to minimise disruption to students and the sector. We have updated the sector on the latest information on the virus, the support available for providers including opportunities through regulation flexibility, the Government’s approach to visa issues, our communications strategy to the international sector and the mental health support available to students.
“Australian government officials have been discussing with the Chinese embassy options to help students affected by travel restrictions continue their studies. Requirements to support distance learning options are being refined through consultation. Website access and English online services are being considered as part of that conversation.
“The Government provides regular updates for students and the education sector on its website and has established a dedicated email and hotline firstname.lastname@example.org or 1300 981 621 (8am to 8pm AEDST Monday to Friday).”