Representing quality private education
providers in Australia

In Focus

Monday, August 25 2014

On my return to Perth this weekend I finally got to watch a recording of the ‘7.30 WA’ ABC program from the previous week which reported on the reform of the higher education sector and what impact it would have on the universities in WA.

It naturally caught my interest as it started with a review of student life in the 1970’s and as I was a student in the 70’s I’m sure I saw footage of me playing volleyball, sitting on the wall outside the Library telling stories and earnestly taking notes in the lecture theatre. The constant reminder of the ‘Uni life’ did evoke nostalgia, however this scenario does not characterise the younger students of today nor of the future. 

Students of today are not on campus full time, 5 days a week and study may only represent one component of their ‘lifestyle’ portfolio. 

The study side of the ‘lifestyle’ portfolio is also more diverse than in previous years.  In addition to enrolling in a higher education course they may also be learning job skills to gain employment.  They may also enrol in on-line learning or MOOKs to reduce the time and cost of learning or to explore a wide range of learning options before committing to a particular higher education program. Either way, the modern student now has a smorgasbord of options to consider compared to the options that were available to us as students of yesteryears when university was “free”.

The responses to the Federal Government’s proposed changes from the four Vice Chancellors interviewed in the program varied dramatically. The Edith Cowan VC thinks the world as we know it will end. However, Professor Paul Johnson from the University of Western Australia had a far more enlightened view. He conceded that some courses may be more expensive but also thought some would be less expensive. Competition would be good for the sector and particularly for students who would get a greater choice.

When asked why UWA was experimenting with MOOKs Professor Johnson replied that he hoped it would provide the University with a better understanding of students and their needs and the way they relate to new technologies.

The Federal Government’s proposed reforms are certainly about creating a financially sustainable higher education system but they are equally as importantly about the students. The reforms are good for students.

The reforms can only strengthen the place of private providers in the higher education sector for the simple reason that members of ACPET have already created their businesses without the type of government funding provided to the universities in the past. Members will no longer be the poor relation of the higher education sector. Private providers have already established a market for their higher education programs and services.

ACPET fully supports the fundamental changes being proposed for higher education.

ACPET AGM – The AGM is an important part of our upcoming National Conference. If you are unable to make it to the conference and AGM please ensure that you fill in the Proxy form and get it to me by the close of business on Tuesday. It is really important that we have a quorum for the AGM. Very embarrassing and time consuming if we have to reschedule the AGM.

ACPET CEO - As I have indicated previously the Board is hoping to announce the appointment of the new CEO for ACPET at the conference. We are still on track to make that announcement at the AGM.

I am looking forward to catching up with a large number of you at the Conference. The program is a strong one and there are sure to be some challenging debates. It is not too late to register. Tuesday is the cut off. Please come and join us for a stimulating and fun time.

Best regards to you all.

Larry Davies


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