Reforming Australian Higher Education: From Crisis to Excellence?
- 4th International Conference for the Advancement of Organisational Excellence, Intergon, South Melbourne
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- Pratt, J G & Pratt, G R (2003). Reforming Australian higher education: from crisis to excellence?, Excellence in the Face of Crisis, 4th International Conference for the Advancement of Organisational Excellence, Intergon, South Melbourne, Australia, pp.1-6
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Reforms in Australian higher education in the 1980s and 1990s have led to declining levels of real government funding to universities, particularly in the late 1990s, requiring universities to develop alternative revenue sources. In 2001, the Senate released a report “Universities in Crisis” which found government funding to be inadequate. Despite the consistent denials by the Australian Government, this was perceived by many others as a sector in crisis. The Australian Government responded to claims of deteriorating standards with the “Crossroads” Ministerial papers and has reasserted its aim of achieving ‘world class’ universities in Australia. Are the recent responses of the Government likely to enhance excellence in higher education? What does ‘excellent’ mean to various higher education stakeholders and how do they perceive the current response of Australia’s higher education system to these challenges? These issues will be analysed in the context of the Government’s reforms as detailed in the “Crossroads” papers. The authors conclude that the Australian Government’s decisions in relation to the levels and sources of funding for Australia’s universities will have future implications for the nation’s social capital.
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