IHEA has provided a submission to the Senate Select Committee on COVID-19, detailing IHEA's reflections and recommendations about the Australian Government's whole-of-government response to the pandemic.
IHEA has experienced very positive engagement with the federal government, particularly the Minister for Education, and responses to sector advocacy have been effective and efficient. It is also likely that some of the initiatives developed in response to the crisis will have a positive impact on the sector and will contribute to an improved higher education landscape for the future.
However, the recovery of the Australian higher education system from the impacts of the crisis will take significant effort and time. The IHEA submission is a reflection on the Australian government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic to date, and will be supplemented with further engagement with Government and other stakeholders into the future. A considered response that will be informed by the impacts of continued restrictions on international student travel and the ongoing availability of JobKeeper support will be able to be provided later in 2020.
Our submission includes five recommendations:
- For the deferral of TEQSA's planned cost-recovery funding model to be extended indefinitely.
- For an extension of TEQSA's flexible approach to application of the Higher Education Standards Framework to enable online teaching modes to continue and allow institutions to implement a measured return to on-campus classes, minimising disruption to students' learning.
- For the 25% FEE-HELP Loan FEE to be extended for a further two years, with a pathway towards permanent abolition of the Loan Fee established in the October Budget this year.
- For the Undergraduate Certificate qualification to be retained permanently in the Australian Qualifications Framework.
- For pilot programs of international student travel through a COVIDSafe Corridor established through agreed national protocols to be conducted in 2020 to prepare for a broader recovery of the international education industry beginning in 2021.
Read more in our full submission below:
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