Uni futures: change but no big dollars

Among the palaver of pleading passing as policy Stephen Parker and Andrew Dempster’s (KMPG) shine a bright-light of realism on the next three years

Parker is remembered as the only VC who publicly stood against the Pyne deregulation package and Dempster is a veteran of Swinburne U and an adviser to Labor education minister “Silent” Chris Evans. These are policy veterans who know of what they speak.

They predict;

* No big bang change to the post school universe

* instead, “a series of small policy changes, each of which is difficult to take issue with, but which overall add up to significant change in the tertiary landscape”

* “the dream of an imminent return to uncapped funding for public universities has receded

* universities say linking growth funding to student outcomes can’t be done but Minister Tehan might do it anyway. “If Dan Tehan is able to settle on a formula that genuinely differentiates between those institutions delivering strong student outcomes and those who are lagging their peers, this has the potential to drive big changes.”

* the “basic architecture” for the newly created National Skills Commission, “could be in 12 months. What it could accomplish is another issue, in a sector, “that gives competitive federalism a bad name

And watch they warn, for government responses to the Noonan (AQF) and Coaldrake (provider categories) reviews. Given the government will not spend on the sector the two reviews offer, “the potential to create a narrative around modernisation and reform of a tertiary sector that needs to keep pace with the changing needs of students and industry.”


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