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higher education in a globalised world « Previous | |Next »
April 19, 2006

In comments to this post on free trade and protectionism Cameron Riley commented that Australia's 'education system needs to be updated for the global realities of the labor market. That means faster education, less time to credential, and cheaper retraining of skills.'

An example that illustrates his point is the UK proposals that would enable students to gain an honours degree in only two years as part of a “study anytime” revolution for higher education.The Times reports that:

Long summer holidays will end for undergraduates on “compressed” degrees as they complete their studies a year early so that they can get on with their careers with reduced levels of debt. Others will take courses entirely at work and through online study in an effort to raise the proportion of adults with degree qualifications. They will be given credit towards their degrees for skills learnt on training courses. A common system of American-style credit accumulation will also allow students to take study breaks and complete degrees later, possibly at different institutions.

The justification? Radical reform was crucial if Britain was to compete with the rising economic power of China and India. What is Australia going to do? As the old saying goes, there there is no protection from the change of globalisation — no stopping the world, unless you are prepared to pay the heavy price of getting off.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 12:10 AM | | Comments (2)
Comments

Comments

The main focus should not be to reduce study year but to increase quality. If the students of India and China are catching up with countries like Australia and England then there must be something wrong with education systems of the developed countries. What I feel is that in countries like India and China university education is in most cases free of cost (almost) and students belonging to lower middle class and middle class families can easily afford going to university without the worry of taking education loans. Often, India and China get the brightest graduates from them and I think at both England and Australia should focus on making education more affordable to the students coming from poor background.

Razib,
you are so right when you say that:

The main focus should not be to reduce study year but to increase quality. If the students of India and China are catching up with countries like Australia and England then there must be something wrong with education systems of the developed countries....Australia should focus on making education more affordable to the students coming from poor background.

That is not happening. The opposite in fact. Higher education is becoming ever more expensive for the working class both through the vocational (TAFE) and the university systems.

Increasingly, we have a digital divide opening up in Australia; marked by low skills in the old economy (based on agriculture, mining and manufacturing) and the new (IT, biotechnology) economy. Quarry Australia is seen in Canberra as the means to ensure ongoing economic growth.

In contrast, India is becoming the new Silicon valley in terms of software development and exports. The state government of Karnataka has promoted and providing a boost to IT, ensured state-of-the-art facilities, helped create the relevant telecom and policy infrastructure and various institutions and computer training centers. I'm much impressed by these kind of educational programs.

That kind of support has not happened in Australia. There were a few desultory efforts in the 1980s to set up technology parks or a technopolis but these weren't connected to the education system or industrial policy.In contrast, Indian expertise is helping to keep Silicon Valley going .