Australian Government releases novel coronavirus guidelines for VET providers

The Australian Government has released guidelines for VET and university education providers and students about the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).


The instructions for providers read:

“If a student or staff member has been informed by health authorities that they are a close contact of a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) and have developed symptoms, they are advised to contact their local Public Health unit for assessment. They cannot attend the university or vocational education facility until Public Health informs them that it is safe for them to do so. If they have not developed symptoms, they should monitor their health closely but should not be excluded from attending university or vocational education facility.

“If a student or staff member has a recent travel history to mainland China and develops symptoms (listed below), they should contact their primary care provider. Their primary care provider will liaise with Public Health units and determine whether or not the student/staff member needs to be excluded from the university or vocational education facility.

“If a student or staff member has travelled to mainland China and has not developed any of the symptoms (listed below), they may attend the university or vocational education facility and should not be excluded.”


Campus Morning Mail reports that “no institution is panicking, at least not yet,” although The Australian reports that, “China’s decision to cancel English language testing due to the coronavirus means the damage to education will be long lasting.” Some Australian post-secondary education institutions have deferred exams scheduled in early February. Examples of university statements: Monash University and University of Sydney.\

Although adult and community education providers have relatively few international students, Australia’s VET sector had 244,287 international students in 2018 (28% of the national total of 876,399). According to a Centre for Independent Studies recent report (The China Student Boom and the Risks It Poses to Australian Universities, August 2019), Chinese students account for 31% of ELICOS students but only 9% of international VET students. Still, that 9% translates into almost 22,000 Chinese VET students, meaning that some Australian VET providers – notably certain TAFEs and private for-profit providers – may be particularly exposed to any decline in Chinese student numbers due to the virus outbreak.

More information:

Know more? Send us details of any information that you believe we should share with our members and the Australian adult and community education sector.

(image above: licensed from istock)

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