Stronger public universities are vital to the success of dynamic, innovative economies, and more inclusive labour markets. But decades of fiscal restraint and corporatization have eroded the democratic governance and equitable delivery of public higher education in Australia. There are widespread concerns among both university staff and the broader Australian community regarding many higher education issues: including funding, governance, the insecurity of work in universities, the quality of education, and the affordability of attending university.
This report, by Senior Economist Eliza Littleton, combines data from the Department of Education, the OECD, and original survey data from a national poll conducted by the Centre for Future Work to draw attention to key challenges facing public universities today. The Federal Government’s new ‘Universities Accord’ creates an important opportunity to address these challenges and put higher education back on a better path.