Australia’s higher education sector is responsible for delivering much of the knowledge and the capabilities required to maintain a strong and productive economy for the benefit of all Australians.
“To compete on the global stage into the future, Australian businesses will depend on highly educated, capable and innovative people,” the Chairman of the BCA’s Education, Skills and Innovation Task Force, Michael Andrew, said.
In light of this, the BCA supports the increased levels of participation that will flow from the Bradley reforms to higher education, including those that will increase opportunities for students from disadvantaged backgrounds to participate.
“The higher education sector is developing students with high-quality knowledge and technical capability, however, there is a growing need for graduates with the skills required in our increasingly globalised workplaces, such as the ability to work in teams, to negotiate, to innovate and to think creatively about problems.
In a paper released today titled Lifting the Quality of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, the BCA has identified four additional priorities to ensure Australia’s higher education sector can contribute to lifting national productivity, acknowledging the important role business can take in working with universities and governments to identify skills needs and graduate opportunities.
The BCA paper recommends:
- Rewarding effective teaching and learning outcomes through:
– the further development of performance funding arrangements
– examining the feasibility of benchmarking the teaching and learning performance of higher education institutions
– encouraging institutions to better recognise and reward professional development undertaken by academic teachers, including the teaching of international capabilities, and effective teaching practices for the education of students from disadvantaged backgrounds
– encouraging institutions to extend initiatives for recognising and rewarding high-performing academic teachers.
- Working with institutions to continue to improve the value and the relevance of what is taught through:
– increased engagement with business on curriculum, to ensure a shared understanding of the knowledge and skills required
– supporting the work of the Business/Higher Education Roundtable, especially in promoting best practice engagement
– continuing to use advisory committees and course review panels
– enabling institutions to specialise and to create national and international centres of excellence
– greater internationalisation of the curriculum.
- Developing a comprehensive strategy for international education, recognising that this industry is of strategic importance to business, and which includes:
– ensuring student visa requirements and procedures compare favourably with nations such as the United States and Canada
– providing incentives for international students to improve their English language proficiency
– supporting greater interaction between Australian and international students.
- Developing a demand-driven system responsive to business, industry and the community, as well as students, by:
– supporting Skills Australia to lead annual consultations with key stakeholders on future skills requirements
– the timely provision of information about the employment outcomes of higher education graduates.
“These priorities highlight the important responsibility business has to work with and support institutions and government to continue to build a higher education system that benefits both students and the wider community,” he said.