Australian Higher Education and University Policy
In a hung parliament, a few people wield quirky and variable influence and secure electorate-specific decisions. The imminent collapse of the $18 billion international market will hurt some institutions much more than others, and this means localised rescue packages.
The result? Piecemeal policymaking on the run. The one-size-fits-all approach created by the Dawkins reforms and integral to the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations’ system management will break down. Neither system-wide equity nor a coherent national division of labour (if we have one) can survive this…..
…watch this space…….
…. But it will be hard to ignore international education.
The Coalition wants to reduce annual net migration from 300,000 to 170,000. Half of net migration is temporary student visas. Only about 90,000 are permanent migrants. The main effect would be to chop education exports in half. But Labor could be achieving that already.
New conditions and processes for student visas, cuts to skilled migration and the tightening of routes to permanent residence, the crackdown on migration semi-scams in India and Nepal, and the mishandling of violence against international students have sent out signals that students and migrants are less welcome. Supply and demand are trending sharply down.
In 2009-10, the number of new student visas for higher education dropped by one-fourth.
That’s just the beginning.
Ponder this. In 2007, international students provided 44 per cent of income at Central Queensland, 31 per cent at Ballarat, 28 per cent at Macquarie, 26 per cent at RMIT, 22 per cent at the University of Technology, Sydney, 21 per cent at Curtin and 18 per cent at Monash.
Unfortunately, federal administration has just been split between education marketing in Austrade, and education and regulation at Australian Education International in DEEWR: the right policy move, but perhaps at the wrong time.
Other issues include the effects of unfunded 2011 growth on cost structures and the fiscal implications of rapid uncapped growth, which could force nasty trade-offs….
Labor has no new policies. The main unfinished business is the student services bill, which is stalled in the Senate but the ALP and Greens together could pass it in July 2011. The Coalition does not have a coherent policy……
None of this will lift the performance of Australian universities amid rising Asia and modernising Europe. But no one talked in terms of global benchmarks during this election.
Another dog’s breakfast amongst the dog whistling on international students, immigration and population. Would question the inertia from the sector in addressing issues and informing politicians and consequences of their short term politics….. Suppose like international education was developed to make up funding short falls as resources go to older generations’s tax cuts, benefits, health care etc. it’s generation X and Y who will pay, but for now they are obviously not too influential politically as opposed to baby boomers and oldies not requiring an education….