According to a media report, the principals of 36 schools explained that the ban has left many non-government schools without a “vital revenue stream” and schools were facing an “immediate existential challenge”.
“The significance of international education stretches far beyond its direct export value alone”
Victoria has more international school students than any other state or territory – some 9,500 enrolled in 2018 – with most coming from China, Vietnam and Cambodia.
“The significance of international education stretches far beyond its direct export value alone, with international students and their families making a significant contribution to the broader economy,” the letter states.
Signatories include the principals of Geelong Grammar, Melbourne Grammar, Methodist Ladies College, Brighton Grammar, St Catherine’s School and Lauriston Girls’ School.
According to the report, premier Daniel Andrews, leader of the Victorian government, has indicated that Victoria would not resume taking international arrivals until November, raising concerns international student numbers will fall further in 2021.
However, in the letter, the group of principals warned that if international programs do not survive, the jobs of academic and support staff will be at risk and there will be significant losses at English language schools and accommodation providers.
“Without action to facilitate the safe entry of international school students to Victoria, student health and wellbeing will suffer; industry, sector and school reputational damage will be long lasting; and the broader economy will experience devastating negative impacts, including significant job losses from schools and service providers,” the letter said.
A spokesman for the Department of Education said that it had convened a “cross-sectoral working group, with representatives from schools with international student programs from government, Catholic and independent schools, to provide advice and develop additional support for international students and the schools that host them”.
“The education continuity, welfare and wellbeing of our international students remains our highest priority,” the department said.