Sydney university students
(Images: AAP/Paul Miller)

If a new survey conducted in China by researchers from Swinburne University of Technology is self-fulfilling, Australia’s higher education sector is set to be eviscerated.

Just over 1000 Chinese students and prospective students took part in the survey, reported in The Conversation, in early June. Fewer than 50% of those who had studied overseas planned to return and 60% of prospective international students were reluctant to study abroad. 

This represents a giant upheaval in what has long been a growth industry -- Chinese families spend very large sums on education, and international qualifications have for a long time had a good reputation in China. But in the time of coronavirus there are more important concerns.