Policy scripts unis centre stage

Higher education had a supporting part at the Jobs and Skills Summit. The Australian Technology Network wants to them back top of the bill

The ATN’s pre-budget policy statement proposes using the government’s coming Universities Accord to do for HE what the summit did for TAFE – make them a policy partner.

“The Accord is our once in a lifetime opportunity to shape post-school education, enterprise and innovation,” ATN announces.

And specific recommendations are straight from the government’s show-notes  – the first, to lift low-income HE participation rates – is a core objective set by Education Minister Jason Clare.

The second – to provide skilled workers, “for priority growth sectors” is common among all ministers.

ATN also pitches research funding as serving the general commitment to applied research, and discretely calls on the government to deliver on the coalition’s plan (the now almost forgotten Economic Accelerator, CMM September 7), by “fully funding the research commercialisation package.”

There are also sector-specific speeches that need to be in the script, including ending the cap on students’ access to Commonwealth funded courses  and international graduate work rights.

But if the government is inclined to give universities a post skills summit encore of their own, ATN knows what it should be.

The showstopper ask is for HE’s own version of the TAFE-focused Jobs and Skills Australia;

A tripartite “skills forum,”  “a three-way partnership between industry, universities and government to drive the national skills agenda. It would help secure Australia’s skills future and realise Australia’s potential through practical and sustainable actions and reforms.”