Topics in the headlights this month include the relevance of higher education degrees for securing jobs in the 21st century, lifelong learning and future proofing Australia’s post-secondary education and skills system.
In lamenting the already recognised gap by employers between what students learn at higher education institutions and the actual skills required to be job ready, the Harvard Business Review states: “In an age of ubiquitous disruption and unpredictable job evolution, it is hard to argue that the knowledge acquisition historically associated with a university degree is still relevant.”
The Business Council of Australia is strongly in favour of ‘future-proofing’ Australia’s future post-secondary education and skills system with a blueprint aimed at maintaining the integrity of each sector, viewing Vocational Education and Training as an industry-led sector based around competency-based training and applied learning, and Higher Education in providing advanced qualifications, learning for the sake of learning, academic inquiry, and world-class research.
To achieve this lofty vision, our industry association ACPET has underlined the necessity of levelling the funding playing field for vocational education, arguing for reform so that independent providers and public sector TAFE colleges are able to deliver quality outcomes within the one funding and regulatory system.
“A well-designed entitlement model is one that does not promote one provider sector over another, nor does it enable government policy to support the public VET sector at the expense of independent providers. For this reason, ACPET has advocated for an entitlement and demand-driven funding model for VET with full contestability for all training providers.”
Taking things one step further, ACEPT has also advocated that Australia’s goals for education should be embracing a commitment to life-long learning, focusing on equipping people for the changing nature of work through a life-long learning approach.
And finally, on an increasingly high note the scope and potential for growth in Australia’s international education sector is a key focus of Austrade, with Australia’s onshore international education sector forecast to grow from 650,000 enrolments currently to 940,000 by 2025.
The international education sector’s contribution to export earnings is expected to almost double to in excess of $33 billion by 2025 and the top eight source markets for onshore international learner enrolments across all sectors in 2025 are expected to be China, India, Vietnam, Thailand, Nepal, Malaysia, Brazil and South Korea.
We are keeping an eye on developments in this sector, and more positive news is expected in the coming months.