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A message from Austrade to our international education partners (31 March 2020)

01 Apr 2020

The partnership between all levels of the Australian government, industry and community to manage the spread of COVID-19 continues to be a shining light during these challenging times.

A powerful example of partnership in the international education sector has been the swift pursuit of innovation in recent weeks, to support students with an online learning environment and virtual pastoral care, while we practice physical distancing.

Australia’s experience with online and distance learning means that we are well-placed to manage this change. Within a matter of weeks, the biggest campus for our students has in fact become the cloud.

It has been great to hear many stories of institutions and providers transitioning online and the positive feedback from students who are now experiencing this ‘new normal’. For example, Griffith University’s Griffith Mates program is now delivering its signature activities online, so students can stay connected with the Griffith community through a series of virtual coffee catch ups, live webinars and competitions.

Please keep sharing your inspiring stories during these unprecedented times via the upload feature on the Study Australia website.

The format of MIP Weekly has shifted to focus on critical information and advice that can support the sector and international students through the pandemic. This week, we have five reminders: 

  1. The Australian Government has launched a “Coronavirus Australia” app in the Apple App Store or Google Play, or via a WhatsApp channel on iOS or Android, for people to receive the latest official advice and information. It builds off the improved content aggregator via www.australia.gov.au
  2. Austrade has been ramping up webinar delivery, in partnership with industry:
    • click here to listen to Senior Industry Specialist Rebecca Hall participate in the first of a series of weekly Insider Guides webinars about the international education sector and the impacts of COVID-19.
    • click here for the 5 March webinar on delivering online education to China that Austrade hosted in partnership with the Council of Australasian University Directors of Information Technology (CAUDIT). A follow up webinar was delivered with CAUDIT on 25 March and the recording will be available on the Austrade Resources Hub shortly.
  3. A new space has been added to the Study Australia website to provide regular updates and encourage two-way dialogue with education agents. 
  4. The Australian Government is now providing up to $100,000 to eligible SME and not-for-profits (including charities) who have employees, with a minimum payment of $20,000. Find out more here.
  5. If you have any students in need, either in Australia or overseas, you may need to refer them for consular services and registration. Visit the DFAT website for Australian embassies and consulates overseas and foreign embassies and consulates in Australia.

Finally, we wanted to let you know that Austrade and state and territory study clusters are working together to develop common messaging around important matters such as health and wellbeing. We meet every Friday and the most recent meeting focussed on approaches to support the welfare of international students during these challenging times. Rest assured this remains a priority and more information will be shared with members of the international education sector soon. 

We recognise that the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on students, teachers and education institutions is immense. Austrade is committed to working together and ensuring every member of our international education community has access to the highest level of information, support and care in the coming weeks and months.