GRAHAM PERRETT MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR EDUCATION
MEMBER FOR MORETON
ELICOS SECTOR MUST SURVIVE
The English Language Courses (ELICOS) sector has been hit hard during COVID. The inability of international students to travel to Australia has meant their student base instantly dried up. Without JobKeeper the entire sector would have collapsed. The Morrison Government is cutting JobKeeper from March 28. Without another form of support the ELICOS sector will not survive.
ELICOS is an important part of the international student journey in Australia. In the first half of 2020, the ELICOS sector had 750,000 students enrolled in their English language courses. ELICOS accounts for 23 per cent of GDP gained from international students. Education is Australia’s fourth largest export.
It was necessary to shut international borders. It continues to be necessary to have our borders closed. Eventually we will recover from this pandemic, our borders will be open again, and we will need the ELICOS sector to be ready to teach international students when they arrive in Australia.
Many ELICOS training centres have already closed. Experienced teachers are being forced to find employment in other fields. They will be lost to the sector.
A teacher from one ELICOS training centre said:-
“My company did the very best they could to keep staff in hours even if it meant that we were working 4 hours a week. We felt connected and hopeful. With the end of JobKeeper, there are no more hours and I am forced to confront a new reality. I’m a single woman in my 40s with a career in English language teaching of over 20 years in which I constantly upskilled by completing research, completing a masters in applied linguistics and attending yearly state-wide PD and now I have no job, no career prospects and a need to move because I can no longer afford to live in this city.”
Another former ELICOS teacher said:-
“I was on JobKeeper and the company tried to keep the teachers on when the business was sold… Teachers’ lives have been tossed around by the Morrison Government.”
International students will be an important part of Australia’s economic recovery after COVID. We can’t afford to lose experienced English language teachers. We will need a well-resourced ELICOS sector ready to roll out English language courses for international students as soon as borders are open again.
The ELICOS sector needs financial support to see it through until borders are open and international students are back. They need JobKeeper to be extended. If it’s not ELICOS will not survive and it will take our fourth largest export down with it.
FRIDAY, 26 MARCH 2021