Ukraine’s Ambassador to Australia, Vasyl Myroshnychenko, said he plans to begin negotiations with the education minister to allow Ukrainian students to study at Australian universities on the lower tuition fees paid by domestic students.
“There’s a huge difference in tuition for domestic and international, and 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 to study here, they may use this opportunity to come to study here. Australia has some of the best universities in the world, and we could definitely take advantage of that.”
In April, a number of tertiary institutions in the United Kingdom capped the fees for Ukrainian students to the level paid by domestic students.
That same month, universities in Scotland waived the tuition fees from the academic year beginning in August, as long as their application is approved.
Australia’s aid to Ukraine now totals about $390 million after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese vowed last month to step up sanctions against Russia.
Australia’s contribution to Ukraine is the largest from a non-NATO nation.
Mr Myroshnychenko said Australia’s aid for Ukraine increased after Mr Albanese met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv last month.
He said that aid is multi-faceted, covering coal supply, humanitarian relief and reconstruction – but it should also extend to education.
The delivery from Australia of 70,000 tonnes of coal has just now arrived in Poland, on its way to Ukraine as the nation heads into winter.
“Ukraine is making a request for more coal because winter is coming, and we don’t have access to our thermal coal, which we have here in Queensland.”
‘Incredible, amazing’: Students reflect on experience of asking Zelenskyy a direct question
The remarks follow Mr Zelenskyy’s live address to Australian university students on Wednesday evening.
The event hosted, at the Australian National University (ANU), included the participation of students from 21 Australian universities joining via Zoom.
Mr Myroshnychenko said the event was “historic”- a rare chance for students to ask questions directly to a leader of a nation in war and see “the human face of the President of Ukraine”.
“It was so good to see the human face of the President of Ukraine, the president of the country, which is fighting war against Russia.”
Bridget Shelley, a first-year student of international security studies at ANU, said while it was intimidating to ask a world leader a direct question, she treasures the moment.
Bridget Shelley, a first-year student of international security studies at ANU, said while it was intimidating to ask a world leader a direct question, she treasures the moment. Source: SBS News
“It was incredible. It was amazing. I’m so grateful for the experience. I am still processing in my mind that I was even able to ask a world leader a question live.”
She asked the hardest thing about being in a war, to which he replied: “I didn’t think people were capable of those things… The heroism of people who went out onto the streets with their bare hands [to fight]… and those people who came to our land [to fight us], it is a shock for me.”
She said he made a strong impression with his answers.
“The way that he was able to convey his thoughts and show emotion, I felt like that really touched me because it made me feel like: wow, he’s listening. He’s actually caring about people’s questions and what people want to hear.”
An archaeology and arts students at ANU, Olivia Claire Martin, asked Mr Zelenskky about the significance of Ukraine’s Eurovision this year and the importance of arts during a time of war.
Archaeology and arts student Olivia Claire Martin says she was very interested to hear Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s response to her question on the role of arts and Eurovision during wartime. Source: SBS News
She said she was nervous as a non-politics student, but his answer put her at ease.
“I’m so incredibly honoured that I was able to have a platform of discussion with him, especially about elements that I study as an anthropologist and archaeologist – like pop culture. It’s really amazing to be able to hear his perspective and I can take that going further.”
It also served as a salient reminder of the cost of war.
“It just showed how big this is. There are definitely moments where even though I don’t have direct relations to Ukraine, you can sometimes forget how powerful the circumstances are. But a moment like this reminds you that is still going on and everyone needs to continuously do their part to contribute to helping Ukraine.”