As Australia’s universities struggle to balance their books due to the lucrative foreign student market drying up because of the pandemic, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that there are plans for a pilot programme to get overseas students studying again.
Announcing this after a national cabinet meeting last week, Morrison emphasised that it would be “in a very controlled setting” for those students who were pre-approved to study at particular institutions. Appropriate quarantine measures will still apply.
He also made it clear that if the states and territories wanted international students to return, they would first have to open up their borders to Australians from other states. At the moment only certain states allow cross-border travel.
This also comes at a time when China, usually a good source of foreign students, is warning its citizens against travelling to Australia because it claims there have been racist attacks against Chinese nationals due to the pandemic.
QS World University Ranking for 2021
Nevertheless, the pilot programme is good news for cash-strapped universities. So too is the release of the annual QS World University Ranking for 2021, which is published by Quacquarelli Symonds, a British company specialising in the analysis of higher education institutions around the world.
The reason for the smiles is that Australia has five institutions in the top 50, which comprises mostly the well-established big-hitter universities from the United States and UK.
ANU is again our best uni performer
Australian National University (ANU) is again the country’s best performer and comes in at number 31 globally. The spot is a three-way tie between ANU, McGill University in Montreal and Kings College in London.
University of Sydney is ranked 40th and Melbourne University is one position lower, at 41st. Rounding out the Aussie institutions in the top 50 are the University of New South Wales (44th) and the University of Queensland (46th).
Those who are not in the top 50, but make it into the top 200 worldwide are Monash (55th), University of Western Australia (92nd), University of Adelaide (106th), University of Technology Sydney (133rd) and Wollongong (196th).
MIT is still the best university in the world
In the overall global ranking, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US was named the world’s best university for the ninth consecutive year. Three other American institutions follow: Stanford University (2nd), Harvard University (3rd) and California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in fourth.
Britain’s venerable Oxford University is in 5th spot and ETH Zurich in Switzerland is 6th.