Tertiary Education shake-up signalled by Government

The Government has announced its response to the Productivity Commission's report into tertiary education. Photo: Lynn Grieveson

The Government has revealed its initial response to a tertiary education report that recommended a major shake-up to the system.

In March the Productivity Commission released its final report into the adult education sector, the result of an 18-month investigation ordered by the Government, which was worried about how the industry will respond to the needs of future students.

It found that the tertiary system was not “student-centred” and, while it was doing a good job of supporting and protecting providers, it was failing to try to adopt new ways of delivering education.

The Commission made a raft of recommendations, including re-introducing interest on new student loans, improving career services in schools, providing more incentives to invest in teaching quality rather than research performance, and scrapping University Entrance.

The report was met with a lukewarm response from the industry, which criticised the Commission for ignoring issues such as funding.

Tertiary Education Minister Paul Goldsmith committed to keeping an open mind on all the recommendations barring student loan interest, which he signalled would not be introduced.

Now Goldsmith has revealed the Government’s initial response and which initiatives stemming from the report will be introduced.

Career advice in schools will be improved and a review into research-led teaching rules will be undertaken to assess the balance between teaching and research.

New providers will be granted better access to funding, while quality assurance and accreditation settings will be reviewed.

Increasing flexibility for providers to allow them to experiment is also a goal and a new tertiary education strategy will be developed and released next year.

Goldsmith will give a speech with more details on the plan this afternoon and Newsroom will have more analysis and reaction later today.