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Charles Darwin University welcomes the first cohort of international students in 2020

If this pilot program succeeds, the university hopes to welcome another batch in January.
BY BrainGain Magazine Staff Writer |   30-11-2020

BrainGain Magazine
Image credit: Universities Australia

The first cohort of 63 international students has landed in Australia, according to reports by the media. These students who flew from Singapore to Darwin is the first batch to be permitted to land since March this year.

According to ABC News, the students will head from the Airport to the Howard Springs quarantine facility where they will spend 14 days. The students are all enrolled in Charles Darwin University – the first university to allow international students to return to campus as part of a Federal Government approved pilot program.

The press has reported on the failure of earlier pilot programs in Canberra and South Australia due to the second-wave of COVID19 in Australia. CDU vice-chancellor Simon Maddocks told the press that the university had worked tirelessly to alleviate the government’s fears, “I think there is no doubt that the fact that there's been no community transmission in the Territory, the fact that we have the Howard Springs facility, which sits outside the immediate community and provides a secure environment … I think all of these things came together to give [governments] comfort."

He also mentioned that the university is working towards welcoming another flight of students in January, and in the first 6 months of 2021. He acknowledged how essential the international cohort is to the university system and economy in Australia: “They are very important for universities. They are very important for our local economy here in Darwin."

A lot is riding on the success of this program by CDU. If this works, other universities could allow staggered entries by international students and hope to revive the higher education sector for which analysts have predicted severe losses. According to recent data published by the Australian Department of Home Affairs, there has been a 60% drop in overseas application during the first six months of 2020. The drop is due to systemic issues such as racism, exploitation, and a lack of government support. But COVID19 has brought matters to a head.



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