Foreign universities and governments are seen taking measures to support international students to deal with the adverse impact of COVID-19.

These include scholarships, accommodation, relaxation of work rights, visa extensions and providing care and support during these difficult times.

La Trobe University of Victoria, Australia has announced scholarships worth AUD 12 million (₹60 crore) to support its students in the current COVID-19 emergency.

These scholarships have been confirmed for the upcoming intakes including for students commencing online. These scholarships are up to 30% of the entire tuition fee of the programme.

A sum of AUD 6.8million has been allocated to directly support the international students.

Vice-chancellor and President of La Trobe University John Dewar AO said, “The University has as its absolute priority the health and safety of the students. Most subjects will continue to be delivered online until the university is allowed to resume face-to-face delivery.”

The university is also lobbying the Federal, Victorian and local governments to step up and support students, particularly international students, it said.

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, New Zealand institutions, the government and communities are supporting the 51,000 international students currently studying at New Zealand institutions.

For international students the New Zealand has implemented student care and support, accommodation, and healthcare initiatives, as well as visa and part-time work extensions.

Addressing visa concerns of students with a temporary visa due to expire between April 1 and July 9, 2020, the government has extended their visas extended to September 25,2020.

Adjustments are also being made for tertiary students who are unable to leave and are no longer enrolled.

New Zealand has also relaxed work rights for international students. As per the revised rights, international students in healthcare roles including aged residential care may work more than 20 hours per week for a period of three months.

To help students cope with financial hardship, the government is offering wage subsidies to those whose employment has been affected by COVID-19.

Universities and student associations are offering budgeting or finance services, emergency payments from a hardship fund, or a food parcel.

Free public healthcare is provided to international students if they think they have contracted COVID-19.

For students who are feeling anxious or lonely, several free counselling services have been provided with the necessary contact details.

News Source: The Hindu


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