What will be the new government’s vision for higher education?

G06 theatre, ground floor
Elisabeth Murdoch Building


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Cathleen Benevento


The federal election campaign has revealed little new about the two main rivals’ policies on higher education. The Coalition appears paralysed by the failure to get its previous reforms through the Senate. The Labor Party is reviving the old demand-led system, while repeating its promise of last year to review post-secondary education. The lack of a firm evidence-base to policymaking and genuine consultation with the sector is not particularly encouraging. Yet, there are some major challenges for tertiary education in Australia, as it moves into a new phase as an expanding knowledge-based society and economy:

  • What’s the purpose of higher and further education in the 21st Century?
  • How can we fund it in a way that is sustainable well into the future?
  • How could we better integrate HE, VET and other post-secondary education?
  • How can we achieve greater equity in access, success and graduate outcomes?
  • Has internationalisation gone too far?
  • How should Australia’s HE sector position itself globally?

These and other issues will be the subject of three policy discussions open to the public, hosted by the University of Melbourne’s Centre for the Study of Higher Education (Melbourne CSHE) during the first 100 days of the new government. The aim is to generate new ideas drawing on the latest evidence, challenge conventional thinking and offer practical steps that ministers can take in the next few years towards a longer term, comprehensive vision for post-secondary education.

The first of these will be on The purpose of higher education and how its funding can be sustainable, and will feature short contributions from an expert panel:

This event will be facilitated by Maxine McKew, Vice Chancellor's Fellow, The University of Melbourne.

The second policy discussion will be on Access to what?, on equity and integrating post-secondary education, on Tuesday 16 July. The final event will ask Has internationalisation gone too far?, on Wednesday 7 August.

Further details of the second and third event will follow.