The deadly coronavirus is likely to make a massive dent on a billion dollar part of Australia's economy, as thousands of international students from China are barred from entering the country.
International education is Australia's fourth largest export, raking in $36.7 billion in 2019. More than 200,000 overseas students come from China.
However, many of these students are currently unable to enter Australia due to a travel ban aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected more than 60,000 people and killed 1,369 worldwide.
By the numbers
In 2019, 754,656 international students studied in Australia. This figure includes school students, university attendees, and those taking VET and English Language classes.
Of those students, 28 per cent were from China, 15 per cent from India, seven per cent from Nepal, four per cent from Brazil and three per cent from Vietnam.
International education from China alone contributed $1.2 billion to the Australian economy in 2018-2019, with 212,157 students choosing to study here.
The travel ban
On February 1, an initial 14-day travel ban was imposed on non-citizens who travelled from or through mainland China in the fortnight before.
This has blocked tens of thousands of international students from entering the country. The government is set to make an announcement in the coming days on whether the travel ban will be extended.
"As of February 1, 56 per cent of the 189,000 Chinese students across all education sectors were offshore," a spokesperson for the Department of Education, Skills and Training told nine.com.au.
The Australian government has also issued a do not travel warning for any residents planning on going to China.
University semester due to begin in matter of weeks
With Australian universities set to commence in the coming weeks, nearly 100,000 Chinese students are yet to enter the country.
As of February 5, there were 97,968 people coming to study in the higher education sector still outside Australia, though not necessarily in mainland China.
"Obviously, it's a very complex situation for them primarily, they are distressed about the situation in their own county… so universities are offering as many options as they can," CEO Universities Australia Catriona Jackson told nine.com.au.
"Obviously Chinese students are important to the economy, and of incredible cultural importance to Australia," she added.
Ms Jackson said universities were doing all they could to support students, including allowing them to begin studying online and waiving usual deferral fees.
Some universities, such as Monash in Melbourne, have pushed back the start time of their first 2020 semester.
The Department of Skills and Training would not be drawn on the economic impact of the travel ban and coronavirus as a whole.
"The Government's first priority is the safety of Australians and it is ultimately guided by the medical experts," a spokesperson told nine.com.au.
"As the Minister for Education Dan Tehan has said the situation is "concerning", and that is why the Government is in regular contact with the Universities Australia (UA) Board, individual universities and the Council for International Education's Global Reputation Taskforce to minimise the impacts of the coronavirus on tertiary education in Australia.
"Likewise, the Government is working with state and territory governments, who are the operators of government schools, and the non-government school sector to minimise the impacts of the coronavirus on school students and schools."
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-outbreak-impact-on-australias-12-billion-chinese-education-sector/fcbd1c7d-d4e0-45ef-b871-ad134ab4eb00