Vaccination drive a landmark step towards bringing international study back on track 

No sector was left unaffected by the Covid-19 pandemic globally, the education not being an exception.  The pandemic that gripped the world from the beginning of 2020 brought the travel to a grinding halt closing the doors for aspirants of the abroad study. That directly affected the universities from the academic destination countries who rely on international students.

The year 2021, however, has begun with hope as different companies have succeeded in coming up with the vaccines against Covid-19 and many countries have already started the vaccination drive. The commencement of the vaccination drive has reenergized both the students, aspiring for the abroad studies, and the universities and the countries that rely on international students.

On Monday the Australian government gave approval to the Covid-19 vaccines Pfizer and BioNTech. The government plans to commence the vaccination drive in the country starting next month.  Australia is among the most preferred academic destinations for the students across the globe and second most sought after for the Nepali students.

The Australian government has announced the beginning of the vaccination drive in many countries is a landmark step towards welcoming the international students in the country. The international education contributed $37.6 billion to the Australian economy in 2019, a $5 billion increase on the previous year, and supported the jobs for over 240,000 people.

In his interview with The Sydney Morning Herald on Monday, Australian Education Minister Alan Tudge said, “If a vaccine works and stops the spread, and it can be rolled out effectively in source countries and we can have surety over-vaccination certificates, then there is the potential to be able to bring in more international students without them having to quarantine.”

The Australia Universities and colleges which enrolled 720,150 students in 2019 just had 164,000 online enrollments of international students in 2020. The students, however, are unable to enter the country due to the border closure.

The students are reluctant to join international universities unless they attend the classes in person. Nepal witnessed a significant increase in the students aspiring for the abroad study.

The continuous growth saw for the last half a decade had a break due to the pandemic. Some 34,000 students acquired No Objection Certificate letters in the fiscal year 2019/20 a decrease by over 50 per cent compared to the previous fiscal year as the Covid-19 gripped the world in the middle of the fiscal year.

The government record shows hardly 3,500 students received the letters in the six months of the ongoing fiscal year that began in mid-July.

The education consultancies and even the government officials believe the vaccination against the Covid-19 is going to increase the flow of the students to the international universities. Dilnath Puri, chief of the No Objection Certificate section of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, says they are witnessing a gradual increase of students seeking for the certification. “The roll-out of the vaccination will surely increase the aspirants for the abroad study,” he said. Announcing the commencement of the vaccination drive on Wednesday, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli said the government is preparing to cover the entire population of the country with the vaccine in three months.