2021 still looks gloomy for the Australian university sector, with the strict international travel restrictions in the country.
Australian universities are facing wrath with the thousands of job losses, due to the pandemic’s impact on the education sector.
Since 2020 till present day, more than 17,300 jobs have been lost due to travel bans, which is restricting the international students from entering Australian land.
Also, Universities Australia, the peak body in the sector, predicts a loss in revenue of about $1.8 billion last year in comparison to the previous year.
And the loss goes to over $3 billion of pre-pandemic estimated revenue for 2020.
In 2021, the Australian university sector is estimating to lose another $2 billion, due to restrictions on international travel, which are expected to remain in the place for most of the year.
Catriona Jackson, the Chief Executive and Director of Universities Australia predicts this harsh hit to leave its impact on the universities for at least a few years to come. She stated that “The brutal reality of COVID-19 has made 2021 even more challenging”.
Further, she said, “Continuing border closures mean universities face the double whammy of fewer returning students in 2020, and reduced numbers in 2021. The cumulative impact won’t be felt just in 2020 and 2021, but for years to come,”
“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,”
she added, “No sector can absorb revenue declines this large without staff losses. At least 17,300 jobs have been lost on campuses in 2020,”.
“Universities have worked hard to limit job losses by halting infrastructure projects, making tough decisions about courses and making savings wherever they could – but the effect of COVID-19 on the higher education sector has come at a real cost,”
“Unfortunately, it is probable we will see further reductions this year. The loss of any, and every, one of those staff is personally devastating, bad for the university community and Australia’s knowledge reservoir,” she added.
Ms Catriona also highlighted that the Federal Government has stumped up $1 billion to fund research in universities.
She said, “It was an important acknowledgement that the jobs of the future are created by R&D and that universities are central to national recovery”.
“Universities Australia will continue to advocate for the needs of the sector at this time of crisis and will continue to talk with the government about funding sustainability,” the director said.
The university sector is kept out of the government’s Job keeper wager subsidy, and despite various warnings, this decision will result in massive job losses.