HE system set for shakeup unis can live with

The government approves all of the Coaldrake Review

Education Minister Dan Tehan backs all ten recommendation for changes to HE provider category standards proposed by Peter Coaldrake, (CMM October 16).

Mr Tehan singles out the creation of a new one-step from a university category as important (called National Institutes of Higher Education by Coaldrake, but to be known as “university colleges”.  He also mentions the review’s recommended research benchmarks for univerities.

Professor Coaldrake’s recommendations include:

* University colleges, “recognised for meeting additional criteria to those required of other higher education providers outside the universities and will have a significant measure of self-accrediting authority status.”

* setting standards so providers can “grow course and research offerings” and “transition” to another category

* including, “a threshold benchmark of quality and quantity of research” in the HE Provider Category Standards.

*  introducing and/or bolstering industry and community engagement and civic leadership in the category standards for universities and uni colleges

* changing legislation to permit “greenfield universities,” “to support innovation, population growth, and demand for higher education in the future”

expanding research requirements for universities. In 2030, existing universities should undertake “world standard research” in at least 50 per cent of fields of education they teach (up from 30 per cent). Any new university should start at 30 per cent and scale up to 50 per cent.

University lobbies were relaxed about Professor Coaldrake’s recommendations when announced, happy that there was no proposal to create teaching-only unis. It is likely that they will be the same with Minster Tehan’s response. Universities Australia certainly was last night, saying it was pleased Mr Tehan had accepted all recommendations including; “the nexus between teaching and research as a defining feature of Australia’s universities.”


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