This week’s release of the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings makes for sobering reading. It shows Australian university performance “stagnating” with a higher education sector under pressure from continual funding cuts and ever-increasing international competition.
Go8 Chief Executive Vicki Thomson says that while the Group of Eight (Go8), Australia’s leading research-intensive universities, once again has six members in the ‘top 100’ and all eight in the top 150, there are worrying signs of a system under pressure. “Almost every Australian university is struggling to maintain its global position,” she said.
“The stakes are high,” said Ms Thomson. “A recent economic impact analysis by London Economics shows that in 2016 the Go8 alone had a positive impact of over $66 billion a year on the Australian economy including some $24 billion from research and $18 billion from international education exports, but as we have been explaining to Government for some years now, this has to be nurtured not starved.”
“In this context, recent Government suggestions that it may consider limiting the choice of university for international students in Australia are particularly unhelpful and lacking an understanding of how the sector operates.
“At the Go8, every three of our international students delivers an economic impact of $1 million into the Australian economy. If their choice in Australia is restricted, then international students have the world to choose from. They are not about to accept being told where and where not to study here.”
their choice being curtailed,” said Ms Thomson.
Times Higher Education (THE) summarised the Australian situation in its rankings release. ‘As funding cuts take hold and pressure mounts to cap international student numbers – combined with intensifying competition from Asia – Australia’s universities could well face an uphill struggle in the coming years.’
Ms Thomson said Government must treat the higher education sector as the high-yield investment it is or suffer economic pain in the years to come. “If Government won’t listen to the sector perhaps it will take heed of global views,” she said.
Contact: Vicki Thomson, Group of Eight Chief Executive on +61 417 808 472