Australia’s Education Minister Alan Tudge has instructed university leaders to bring students back to campus as soon as possible.
Tudge told the annual Universities Australia conference in Canberra on Thursday that too few students had returned to learning on campus in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am still hearing from too many students or their parents who tell me that their usual student experience has still not returned.
“So for this year, we must see a focus in our universities on how to enhance the classroom and learning experience of Australian students. Some do it brilliantly, but it should be all that do it brilliantly,’’ he said.
The tertiary education sector has repeatedly called for the government to reopen Australia’s borders to international students, but Tudge said on Thursday the focus should be on local students.
“In the past several months, I have had almost every vice-chancellor talk to me about research and international students, but not many talk to me about their ambitions for Australian students,’’ he said.
Universities Australia revealed in February that the sector lost 1.8 billion Australian dollars (1.39 billion dollars) in revenue in 2020 and cut 17,000 jobs after universities were denied access to the Federal Government’s JobKeeper scheme.
According to report, students have become a rapidly growing source of Nigerian migrants to Australia. Nigeria is predicted to become one of the top 10 sources of international students for Australian universities.
Australia’s streamlined visa processing for international students and its post-study work rights scheme have been given some credit for this.
Many Nigerians come as engineering students planning to work in their country’s oil industry.
A 2015 report revealed that Nigerians are one of the newer student populations experiencing huge growth in Australia, compared to student populations from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.
According to a census conducted in 2016, about 8,488 Nigerian-born people live in Australia.
It was gathered that about one-third of Nigerians in Australia live in Sydney, while one-quarter reside in Melbourne. Half of Australia’s Igbo-speakers live in Sydney.
Nigerian cuisine can be found in restaurants in the more diverse Australian cities such as Sydney and Melbourne.
Nigerian High Commission in Australia is located at 26 Guilfoyle Street, Yarralumla ACT 2600, PO Box 241, Civic Square ACT 2608, Canberra.
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