25 September 2023

Education panel stands up for students

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The Department of Education and Training (DET) is to implement the findings of the Higher Education Standards Panel’s final report on improving the retention and success of Australia’s higher education students.

Reporting to the Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham, the Panel made 18 recommendations aimed at ensuring Australia’s students had the best chance of successfully completing their studies and transitioning into the workforce.

The Panel said in its report there was no immediate crisis in higher education.

“The Panel considers that significant improvements in provider approach are possible to maximise students’ chances of successfully completing their studies,” the Panel said.

“The Panel recommends as a first priority that institutions must ensure students who have the capacity to succeed in higher education are given the best chance to complete their studies through the appropriate provision of academic and other support.”

It said it made recommendations to improve the guidance available to school students and mature-age people prior to enrolment and the provision of careers advice to students by higher education institutions.

The Panel said it encouraged the greater development of nested courses, which means that qualifications such as a diploma, advanced diploma or associate degrees can be incorporated within a bachelor degree.

“This course design can maximise the opportunity for students who successfully complete part of a course but do not fully complete a bachelor degree to exit with a meaningful and economically useful qualification,” the Panel said.

“It should not be anticipated that each entrant to higher education will leave with a bachelor degree.”

The Panel said it was of the view that more streamlined and widespread sharing of best practice across the higher education sector would continue to build knowledge and capacity in all areas.

The final report was informed by a consultation process that included 43 written submissions made in response a discussion paper in June 2017.

The Panel’s 54-page report can be accessed at this PS News link.

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