Coronavirus fallout: Universities Australia predicts 21,000 job losses

Coronavirus fallout: Universities Australia predicts 21,000 job losses

Universities Australia has predicted that the country’s education sector could witness 21,000 job losses due the Coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement made by Universities Australia, responding to the Australian government’s latest Coronavirus (Covid-19) measures, the Higher Education body predicted huge losses, of 21,000 jobs, in the sector.

The statement from Universities Australia comes after the Australian government guaranteed that the Commonwealth Grant Scheme (CGS) and HELP funding payments would be made in 2020, in accordance with projected enrolment figures.

The Australian government said this move will help to minimise the impact that a drop in student numbers, and so extensive financial losses, would have on the institutions.

Without the necessary financial aid from the government, that number would have been even higher. Alongside these redundancies, the universities will be undertaking strenuous spending cuts, in order to limit the extensive upheaval caused by the global pandemic.

Universities in Australia could see revenue decline by up to AUD $4.6 billion due to Coronavirus

Professor Deborah Terry, the Chair of Universities Australia, expressed her immediate concern for Australia’s Higher Education sector and its employees.

“We estimate 21,000 jobs at Australian universities will go within the next six months. Without guaranteed CGS and HELP funding that figure would have been even higher.”

“Individual universities are already cutting costs across the board through very substantial reductions in operational spending, deferral of vital capital works, and reductions in senior staff salaries.

“However, this will be nowhere near enough to cover what we conservatively estimate as a revenue decline of between $3 billion and $4.6 billion.”

Fears that current Australia spending cut plans ‘nowhere near enough’

For the present, Professor Terry stated that the current strategy for universities attempting to cope with the financial implications of the pandemic is to seek low interest loans.

”Loans will help reduce lay-offs, and would assist us in maintaining online teaching functions and vital research—including into a COVID-19 vaccine and treatment—throughout the crisis.”

She also contributed her thoughts on the role that Australia’s universities will have in terms of future coping strategies, after the current measures have been lifted.

“Our universities and our students will play a vital role in national recovery. With Government support, we hope to ride out this crisis and get to work on rebuilding.”

“Australia will need even more new ideas, new skills and new jobs to power economic and community recovery. Universities are the engine rooms of that renewal.”

Earlier, we had reported that the CEO of English Australia had written to the Australian Prime Minister requesting a $87 million Coronavirus rescue package for the country’s English language training sector.

Pic: Markus Spiske

Josephine Walbank - Reporter, Global Education Times (GET News)

Josephine Walbank is a reporter for Global Education Times (GET News) with a focus on education in the UK, Asia-Pacific, and Americas, and student experience and lifestyle news.

Josephine is an experienced journalist who previously served as the Editor-in-Chief of The Falmouth Anchor. She is also the former Deputy Editor of Voices, the Falmouth & Exeter Students’ Union’s publication, and has written for various food and lifestyle publications.

You can reach her at josephine@globaleducationtimes.org

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