The Group of Eight (Go8) which represents Australia’s leading research-intensive universities, with seven of its eight members ranked in the world’s top 100 universities, is pleased that Labor has supported the push of the Go8 and others to have a holistic inquiry into how best Government can assist deliver and support all of Australia’s post-secondary education.
“Post-secondary education must deliver to all Australians access to the education that will best suit them – whether it be vocational education, university education or research training. It must also support outstanding research undertaken in Australia’s university system that is an integral part of a world class education, provides innovation for our economy, generates $160b pa to Australian GDP and underpins Australia’s $31 billion international education industry,” says Vicki Thomson, Go8 Chief Executive.
“And this must be done in a coordinated, consistent and equitable way that treats post-secondary education as a spectrum of activity and not a series of isolated silos. It must take into account how best to factor in employment outcomes and admissions standards to ensure that enrolments and course profiles are aligned to the skills needed in the workplace of the future.
“There must be transparency in the resourcing of delivering education that ensures accountability and also funds educational institutions for what they actually do and puts an end to the under-funding of Australia’s research effort.
“This is not about either/or. It’s not about universities versus VET. It is about providing the right opportunity for each student in the context of future workforce needs, building the nation’s research capacity, and developing our future economy. Australia needs a considered and planned approach to the profile and funding of our post-secondary education sector. It has been more than 30 years since Australia’s post-secondary education system was unpacked in a policy sense – far too long, especially in such a fast-changing world.”
Ms Thomson said that to achieve the outcomes that are critical to Australian students and the economy the Go8 proposes that the inquiry consider:
• What is the appropriate structure and size of the post-secondary education system?
• What are the emerging needs of industry in the knowledge economy and how can links with academia be incentivised?
• How can genuine diversity of university missions be achieved?
• How can federal/state cooperation in training best be achieved?
• How can Australia build and maintain world class research universities?
• The development of a national regional higher education strategy
• Pathways between and within vocational education and university education – as is currently under implementation in the UK – and institutional missions in delivering this
• Reframing the Demand Driven System in the full Higher Education context – vocational and university level education
• Financial sustainability of Government support for post-secondary – including vocational education – and the HELP scheme
• Employment outcomes and admission standards
“This is a significant undertaking announced by Labor, especially in the timeframe it is proposing,” said Ms Thomson. “The Go8 appreciates that the Opposition has understood the problems with the current postsecondary education model, and within that, has understood the current distorted funding model our universities face.
“The Go8 very much looks forward to having the opportunity to assist in any way possible that can deliver the required outcomes for Australia, and future generations of post-secondary students.”
Contact: Vicki Thomson, Group of Eight Chief Executive on +61 417 808 472