University job losses top 17,000 after international student drought cost the industry $1.8BILLION in 2020 – and this year is predicted to be even worse
- Education sector estimates lack of international students in 2020 lost 1.8 billion
- Minister Alan Tudge is ‘surprised’ the sector has lost more than 17,000 jobs
- Australia’s border to remain closed to international students for most of the year
- Universities Australia warn of more job losses due to the impact of pandemic
The minister responsible for Australia’s education sector has expressed disbelief at claims universities have lost more than 17,000 jobs in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Alan Tudge said he was ‘surprised’ at the figures put forward by Universities Australia, as he thought it was around 5,000 jobs lost.
‘Still very significant,’ Mr Tudge told Sky News on Wednesday.
Universities Australia has warned more job losses are on the cards because of the ongoing economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The sector’s peak body estimates about $1.8billion in operating revenue was lost in 2020 compared with the year before
The sector’s peak body estimates about $1.8billion in operating revenue was lost in 2020 compared with the year before.
Compared with universities’ pre-pandemic budgeted revenue for 2020, the loss amounts to more than $3billion.
The sector is preparing to lose another $2billion this year, largely due to international students still unable to travel to Australia.
Mr Tudge says the sector is yet to ask him for more funding.
The sector is preparing to lose another $2billion this year, largely due to international students unable to travel to Australia (stock image)
He plans to keep a close eye on the situation but brushed over the sector’s revenue concerns.
‘We are concerned if there are job losses but we also have to understand they’ve had operating surpluses for many years before this.’
The sector was effectively excluded from the government’s JobKeeper wage subsidy program, despite warnings the decision would lead to huge job losses.
Labor’s education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek says the sector should not have been excluded from JobKeeper, pointing to the pivotal role they’ve played in Australia’s virus response.
Economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic are predicted to be felt by universities for years (stock image)
‘It’s our universities that we’ve turned to during the COVID pandemic to ask them to look at vaccines, look at treatments, to look at the way the disease spreads in our community,’ she told reporters in Canberra.
‘It’s universities that we’re turning to to train the doctors, the nurses, the epidemiologists as well as the engineers, the computer programmers that we’re going to need coming out of the recession.’
Universities Australia boss Catriona Jackson has thanked the federal government for supporting research funding with $1billion, and said the peak body would continue to push for more support.
The hit from the pandemic will be felt by universities for years.
South Australia is close to finalising a proposal on how to bring international students to the state with other states encouraged to suggest plans of their own (stock image)
‘If an international student didn’t enrol in 2020, the loss would be felt for what would have been their entire three or four years at university,’ Ms Jackson said.
‘The loss of any, and every, one of those staff is personally devastating, bad for the university community and Australia’s knowledge reservoir.’
The nation’s international border was closed last March and is expected to remain shut for most of this year.
Mr Tudge said South Australia was close to finalising a proposal on how to bring international students to the state without taking up any limited spots in hotel quarantine.
Other states have been encouraged to suggest plans of their own.
— to www.dailymail.co.uk