Australia has one of the world’s most internationalised education systems. It ranks alongside the UK in terms of total currently enrolled international students. Yet in 2020, international students were challenged by the Australian Government to ‘go home’ if they could not cover their own living expenses in the wake of pandemic lockdowns. This was widely interpreted as a fresh abandonment of international students. In this presentation, however, I will use theories on ‘crisis management’ and ‘policy inaction’ to demonstrate that the approach in 2020 represented consistency with erstwhile and subsequent policy. In doing so I will trace the evolution of international student welfare in policy over three periods: the pre-internationalisation era; the period of major growth in international student numbers from the 1990s to 2019; and the period since the beginning of the pandemic. Case examples are offered and implications for other major international student host countries are explored.
Professor Gaby Ramia, University of Sydney
Gaby Ramia is Professor of Policy and Society in the School of Social and Political Sciences at The University of Sydney. He co-leads of the ‘Work, Education and Welfare’ Theme in the Sydney Centre for Healthy Societies. Gaby’s research is in public and social policy and governance, particularly in relation to work, employment, education and welfare. He has been a chief investigator in Australian Research Council funded projects dealing with: governance networks, social networks and the employability and wellbeing of long-term unemployed people; social security in China; international education and the welfare of international students; and international student housing.