Opinion- 30 December 2009

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Eight Years on - Where are Australia's Universities in Relation to Their Cohort?


pdf file-available from Australasian Science



Some eight years ago TFW published an opinion piece regarding the state of Australian higher education. Since then much manipulation has taken place what with Brendan Nelson having been directed by then Prime Minister John Howard to place a tighter rein on the universities, an approach that was to continue under the immediate past Minister for Education, Julie Bishop.


What will be the relationship between the universities and the current Labor government led by Kevin Rudd remains to be seen -- so far signals have been mixed, funding certainly has begun to be increased, but there is little sign of a reduction of micromanagement.


With considerable fanfare the current Minister for Education, Labor's Julia Gillard, called for a federal review of higher education to be chaired by Professor Denise Bradley, former vice-chancellor of the University of South Australia, who delivered her committee's final 300 page report in December 2008.


There is just over a year before the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century. It remains to be seen how much  of an "Education Revolution" Australia will be heir to.



The "Bradley Review" committee's overall conclusion?



"This analysis of the performance of Australia’s higher education system points to an urgent need for both major structural responses and additional investment. In 2020 Australia will not be competitive with the top group of OECD countries in terms of the performance of higher education if there is a failure to act now."


Bradley Review of Higher Education