Creating a coherent and stable tertiary education system should be a priority for the Australian Government following the 2019 election, Innovative Research Universities (IRU) has argued in a new discussion paper published by the group today (21 November 2018).
Towards a tertiary future outlines the IRU’s vision for university and vocational education over coming years, with a strong focus on opening access to all students to aspire to gain vocational or higher education qualifications.
The IRU says the creation of an effective system must begin with accepting that:
- the economic and social reality is that nearly everyone now needs a post school qualification.
- educating all to their need should not hold back learning of those most naturally suited to academic learning.
- higher education is for all, not just the best and brightest.
- we have moved from the advantage of having a degree or trade to the disadvantage of not having either.
- there will be a greater overlap of earnings between those with higher education qualifications and those with VET qualification.
The paper also includes initial results of new analysis of university and VET application and completion rates showing that there is good take up of both but that there are major variations in take up across gender and socioeconomic status.
Commenting on the release of the paper, IRU Executive Director Conor King said:
“The IRU seeks be at the constructive heart of debate about the future of tertiary education and look ahead to where we need to be in 10, 20 or 30 years. This paper is our contribution to the tertiary discussion, outlining the need for change and challenging some of the myths.
“Whichever party is in government after the next Federal Election will need to tackle tertiary education as a priority to ensure Australia has a coherent and viable system.”