Ukrainian Ambassador to Australia Vasily Miroshnichenko said he plans to start negotiations with the Minister of Education to allow Ukrainian students to study at Australian universities at a lower rate paid by local students.
“There is a huge difference in tuition fees for locals and foreigners, and for those who come here as refugees,” he told SBS News.
“But those who are now refugees in Europe, but may want to decide to come here to study, they can use this opportunity to come here to study. Australia has some of the best universities in the world and we could definitely take advantage of that.”
In April, a number of higher education institutions in the United Kingdom capped tuition fees for Ukrainian students to the same level as local students.
That same month, universities in Scotland waived tuition fees from the academic year starting in August, subject to their application being approved.
Australia’s aid to Ukraine now stands at about $390 million after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese pledged to tighten sanctions against Russia last month.
Australia’s contribution to Ukraine is the largest among non-NATO countries.
Mr Miroshnichenko said Australia’s aid to Ukraine has increased since Mr Albanese met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv last month.
He said the aid is multi-faceted, covering coal supplies, humanitarian aid and reconstruction, but it should also extend to education.
A shipment of 70,000 tons of coal from Australia has just arrived in Poland, bound for Ukraine, as the country heads into winter.
“Ukraine is demanding more coal because winter is coming and we don’t have access to our thermal coal that we have here in Queensland.”
‘Incredible, amazing’: students reflect on the experience of asking Zelensky directly
The remarks followed Zelenskiy’s live speech to Australian university students on Wednesday night.
Hosted by the Australian National University (ANU), the event was attended by students from 21 Australian universities who joined via Zoom.
Mr. Miroshnichenko called the event “historic” – a rare opportunity for students to ask questions directly to the leader of a nation at war and see “the human face of the president of Ukraine.”
“It was so nice to see the human face of the president of Ukraine, the president of a country that is at war with Russia.”
Bridget Shelley, a first-year international security student at ANU, said that while it was intimidating to ask a world leader a direct question, she cherishes the moment.
Bridget Shelley, a first-year international security student at ANU, said that while it was intimidating to ask a world leader a direct question, she cherishes the moment. Source: SBS news
“That was incredible. It was amazing. I am so grateful for this experience. I still think in my head that I was even able to ask a world leader a question live.”
She asked what was the hardest thing about war, to which he replied: “I didn’t think people were capable of such things… The heroism of people who went out into the streets with their bare hands.” [to fight]… and those people who came to our country [to fight us]It’s a shock for me.”
She said that he made a strong impression with his answers.
“The way he was able to convey his thoughts and show emotions, I felt like it really touched me because it made me feel: wow, he is listening. He really cares about people’s questions and what people want to hear.”
ANU archeology and arts student Olivia Claire Martin asked Zelensky about the significance of the Ukrainian Eurovision this year and the importance of art during the war.
Archeology and Arts student Olivia Claire Martin says she was very interested to hear Volodymyr Zelensky’s response to her question about the role of art and Eurovision in wartime. Source: SBS News
She said she was nervous because she didn’t study politics, but his answer calmed her down.
“I am so incredibly honored that I was able to discuss the platform with him, especially about the elements that I study as an anthropologist and archaeologist, such as pop culture. it goes further.”
It also served as a stark reminder of the cost of war.
“It just showed how important it is. There are definitely moments when, although I am not directly related to Ukraine, sometimes you can forget how strong the circumstances are. But a moment like this reminds you that everything is still going on, and everyone must constantly contribute to helping Ukraine.”