The Chief Executive Officer of an Australian university announced that higher education in the country would face a loss of approximately $2 billion in the 2020-2021 academic year. She added that operating revenue dropped by almost 5% in 2020 and has already gone down 5.5% in 2021.
The cumulative impact will last for years to come, and Universities in Australia will be deprived of the growth due to the covid-19 situation. If there is no increase in enrolment from international students the losses will continue for the next three to four years.
During the Australian lockdown, there were no or very few enrolments from overseas students. Very few new joiners arrived in 2020, and the figure is still meagre in 2021. In a recent report, universities had tried all possible ways to trim down the operating costs by stopping infrastructure projects or finding possible savings methods to limit job losses. Unfortunately, this plan has failed, and more than 17,000 jobs have been cut during the pandemic.
Covid-19 has had a profound impact on higher education. Melbourne University’s analyst projected that research work funding faces a grave problem due to international students’ absence. Estimated over five years, there will be a loss of $6.4 to $7.6 billion, completely utilised for research work. At this point, the Australian government has not announced the exact time for international borders’ opening, which the education system will rely on to boost their income.
“It was an important acknowledgement that the jobs of the future are created by R&D and that universities are central to national recovery,” said a leading academic. At the end of last year, the government has allocated an additional fund of $1 billion for research work. The step was welcomed by the chief executive and ‘Group of Eight’, whose associates conduct research of Australian Universities. The chief executive officer of Group of Eight, Vicki Thomas, said that the government’s funding would help carry out the research work, which is essential for the future of the country. The university association has also proposed for a second series of financial aid.