University isn’t the entire equity answer in education for regional students, according to a new research analysis from the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education at Curtin University.
“High university attendance by regional students isn’t always the right indicator of success. What works in skills development and what is relevant to shaping the lives of people in regional Australia is what matters most.”
If that is not heresy enough for the regional university establishment the paper dares suggest research has “underestimated, under-appreciated and under-researched”the challenges and responses involved in serving the diverse and distinct needs of regions.
“While many businesses and industries in regional Australia require university education, many regional jobs are focused on practical and hands-on skills, which a well-funded forward-looking VET course may be better placed to provide than university. Competitive tension between the two pathways would be lessened if nested courses of study, offered sequentially by different institutions and recognised by all higher educational institutions, allowed for greater transition between the VET and university sectors, as well as a higher recognised status for VET.”
Wonder why universities with country campuses are keen on the sub-degree market?