Thoughts on Australian Higher Education Policy as emerging through debates on the upcoming Budget.
As the federal government sets about justifying its changes to the higher education sector some further reflection on logic and outcomes may assist comment further on the implications of changes to educational opportunities. It is widely accepted Australian Universities are at capacity with an average 20% provision of international enrollment. Therefore it seems logical to expand provision for international student enrollment by increasing the ability of private providers to access streamlined visa processing a first step. Furthermore in the latest expected budget proposal from the coalition, that these same providers will now have access to Federal funding for domestic places.
The first question to ask for such a direction is; Is there really a higher level of demand for Australian Higher Education? Australia, internationally, is usually 3rd or 4th as a destination of study behind the United Kingdom (UK), the United States of America (USA) and sometimes Canada. Therefore one has to question whether more supply in Australia will lead to more students. Of course, the OECD higher education statistics expect these numbers to rise to 8 million by 2025, from 2 million in 2013. Examining the current composition of global supply; the USA receives around 765,000 (or 38%); the UK 425,265 (or 21%); Canada from currently 265,000 (or 13%) planning to grow to 450,000. Australia gets around 200,000 (or 10%) of current students, expectations of growth are unclear. Anticipating the 2025 figures need to be read in conjunction with rising educational provision in India and China expecting to have 40%, (3.2million) Malaysia expecting to grow to 1.3% (100,000,) Singapore expecting to grow to 150,000 1.9%, Korea expecting to grow to 1.3% 100,000. With the USA, the UK percentages remaining constant (38% and 21% respectively), Canada achieving 5.6% as planned, and these new markets achieving a total of 44.5% the Australian 10% is not guaranteed.
In order to keep pace with this expanding provision, some rates of international government investment , for example China in 2013 total investment of equivalent AUD179million. Australia will need more investments in provision of places for students but also increase Research investment. Indeed the logic of the free market which leads to the opening of funding for places must also logically include opening the research funding market to private providers. In fact this is paramount to ensuring quality in these institutions and in a longer term policy developing the international reputation of Australian universities based on the contribution to knowledge and research as well as research training will ensure a greater and lasting effect.
Those of us in this sector for a few of these cycles can hardly resist the comment that after the feast comes the famine. However, if, as the logic extends, there is increased government funding for all in Higher Education. I personally look forward to the day Private universities in Australia are able to rank in the top world 200 universities and that one day Australia will challenge the UK and the US for dominance of the education market.
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This entry was posted in Europe, Higher Education, Regions, Russia and tagged accreditation, international students, Russia, scholarships, STEM, student mobility, student recruitment, study abroad, work abroad by Editor.
Ten years ago, on my last day on the hill, a senior coalition mp asked me whether I knew what the coalitions plans were for higher education and if so why would I want to leave politics to work for a university. I recall my answer was I wanted to see the transformation first hand. Now ten years on I have seen a number of changes in the higher education but the same cant be said for the coalitions political mishmash of opportunism. the brinkmanship from the minister for education caused a backflip on decreasing ncris funding and now the coalition is back to the drawing board of 10 years and further ago looking to dawkins. Phillips and… for the next phase to reboot (read reduce) the cost of higher education.
Summarising the changes in higher education, over the last 10 years; based on the number of universities in the top 500; 14 and by 2014 there were 19 universities ARWU, from 2 to 4 in the top 100, only one of which is from 401 to 500 down from 4.
So while universities have been transformed, the same cannot be said for the coalitions policy and the opportunity exists for ….an innovative response to higher education, my suggestion is that; reflecting on success in universities an interesting angle may be to link what should be expected from universities to the intergenerational report …
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