Dear current and future international students and education agents,
International students have been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with challenging conditions for travel and education worldwide. The Western Australian International Education community is here to support all our international students during these uncertain times.
Here in Western Australia, our international students are a highly valued part of our community, and significant contributors to the cultural and economic prosperity of our State. As a collective voice, the Universities, Colleges, Schools and Industry groups of Western Australia pledge our support to assist international students continue their educational journey with us. Whether you are a current student in Australia or studying with us remotely; a future student planning your study with us; a valued agent partner; a parent; a guardian or a homestay carer, you are an important part of our community.
RETURNING TO STUDY
Due to the coordinated efforts of our Governments, Western Australia and Australia as a whole, have shown incredibly positive planning, management and foresight in navigating us through the COVID-19 pandemic. The Australian and State governments are now planning a phased approach to reducing restrictions that will ensure the safety of all residents during this worldwide health crisis. Most importantly, the ability to implement a hard border for Western Australia has been a key contributor to our low rates of infection and therefore enabled WA to relax restrictions more rapidly than many other States. The return of students to school has already commenced for those residing in Australia. University and colleges will return to operation as soon as practical.
RETURNING TO AUSTRALIA
With border movements restricted in many countries, some international students have been unable to return to their studies in Australia. The Australian Government has included consideration for the return of international students to Australia within Phase Three of their recovery plan. This is a positive step. We look forward to being able to welcome our offshore and future international students onto our campuses once the health and government advice allows. In the meantime, we commit to doing all we can to continue delivering quality courses to students, wherever they reside.
FLEXIBLE REMOTE LEARNING SUPPORT
WA education providers remain committed to those students unable to return to their school, college or university in Australia, providing virtual or remote learning platforms to allow students to continue their Australian education. Currently, 15 per cent of international students enrolled in WA institutions are now studying remotely, maintaining their course pathway, or commencing their learning journey with little disruption to future goals. As most providers continue their remote learning programs, we hope to encourage and welcome more students to commence their courses, from anywhere in the world. It is our aim, as a collective group, that no student, who wishes to study in WA, is disadvantaged by this global disruption.
SUPPORT IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA
As an industry, we are committed to supporting international students during this crisis. Support packages include the StudyPerth Crisis Relief Package, support packages offered by all Western Australian universities of up to $2M, along with crisis accommodation and welfare support programs. We are also working closely with consulates and community and business organisations to support any international students who are in need.
For now, we look to the future with positivity and excitement. International students should feel welcomed, supported and most importantly, safe and secure in Western Australia. Our future is bright. We support you and thank you for your contribution to the Western Australian community.
With best wishes,
The Western Australian International Education Industry
This letter is written as a collective voice on behalf of all WA education providers and industry groups
EDITOR'S NOTE (31/12/2020): Applications for StudyPerth Crisis Relief (SPCR) have now closed. Should circumstances change due to COVID-19, the program may be re-opened in 2021.