The Monash Commission’s Designing for the Future seminar held on the 26 September 2018 was only the beginning of our work.
There were four primary objectives of the meeting of the Commission. The summary notes below outline the areas of consensus and few areas that require further investigation and/or discussion against each of these objectives.
Over the coming months, the Monash Commission will continue to speak with industry partners, students and leaders in the sector to dig deep into the challenges and opportunities discussed during the day.
Increased participation over the last few decades – diversity and growth in skill profile for Australian society.
Growth in international market, Australia’s role in that and our brand is globally very strong.
Consistently circa 85% across institutions and to be celebrated
both physical and digital
Universities act as the cornerstone of communities in regional Australia
The issue in relation to funding is multi-faceted and multi-layered. Some of the key funding issues include:
Parents, teachers and schools are struggling to understand how to channel students into the post-compulsory system. There is low awareness of the various options for students to enter (particularly around VET and the stigma attached with attending VET over HE) – increasing this engagement and education for parents / schools will help to change this perception
Rural and remote communities experience lower quality education, which is misaligned with the expected quality of education in these areas. There needs to be increased focus on the role of committed personnel in these regional areas to ensure a continued focus on quality of education and in turn aspiration and access for students.
The current system is compartmentalized, with a number of ‘boundaries’. There is a lack of fluidity and flexibility for students to engage with both VET and HE systems simultaneously, or multiple institutions within the one system.
There is a perceived lack of clarity around some key terms including:
The needs of industry to be better understood and subsequently incorporated into curriculum by all actors within the post compulsory education system to better meet requirements of industry and ensure students in the system are well equipped.
There is a lack of understanding around frameworks and structure governing rge post compulsory education system. Having a clearer understanding of these structures and the role they play will help to streamline the system and allow for sensible experimentation and thinking to occur without the hindrance of over-interference.
There needs to be greater clarity and cohesiveness in policy, governance & regulation, and funding to allow for post-compulsory education to be accessible to all (i.e. allow both systems to be viable). Historically, this cohesiveness has existed for HE and not for VET
A sub-question to the idea of designing scenarios for the future of post-compulsory education was centred on what the key features would be of this future state (incorporating some of the features that already make this system excellent).
Providing equitable and diverse access to post-compulsory education for all Australians (i.e. support for both young and mature people from areas of disadvantage)
A system that is responsive to student and workforce needs
A system that is both reputable and demonstrable to give both students and institutions a ‘currency’
This includes quality and equity in post-compulsory education in regional and rural areas
A system that promotes flexibility for students including engaging with multiple institutions, engaging with both sectors, promoting pathways, access to the system through alternate pathways etc.
The model needs to focus on developing a whole and happy person that increases overall wellbeing. This also means providing people with a skillset that not only takes into account qualifications but softer skills and overall development
Resilient to policy change and government/ministerial changes
A system that enables choice and flexibility for students, supported by a good foundation of public and private providers
A system that is underpinned by the highest quality education, with integrity and trust in the system
Disaggregating teaching and research funding (with consideration as to how this may affect funding issues in universities)
Create a State / Federal governing body to cover the sector and minimise the disturbance of the sector to changes in government. This will enable the ecosystem to continue to thrive despite Ministerial changes and create harmony in policy settings across sectors (HE / VET) and jurisdictions.
Ensure inclusivity and accessibility irrespective of the entry point for the student in the PCE lifecycle. This includes a focus on regional and rural communities, and increasing the aspiration and access for these cohorts.
Ensure ALL graduates have opportunities to develop higher level soft skills (such as teamwork, digital fluency) in addition to the required qualifications
Re-design the thinking around Year 11 and 12 to focus less on achieving a high ATAR.
Ensure private providers have a place in the system so that there is diversity in the system and a place for specialization
Create meta designs of ways in which students can navigate the system whereby a student, through a number of different pathways, will have a guaranteed set of skills (i.e. those required for the workforce) but also a significant amount of flexibility in how they achieve this (both through course choice and funding)
Conduct a review of categories in the HE ecosystem to form a view on which categories to close off and which to permit (e.g. University College may not be an effective category).