Pyne announces review of demand driven system

Commonwealth Media    |    12 November 2013

christopher-pyneThe minister for education, Christopher Pyne, has announced the scope of his foreshadowed review of the demand driven funding system for higher education.

He has appointed former education minister David Kemp and  director of higher education at the Grattan Institute (and and a senior adviser to then minister Kemp)  Andrew Norton to undertake the review and report to the government in mid-February 2014.

David KempAs education minister, Kemp proposed  deregulation of fees, following the West review of higher andrew_nortoneducation (Learning for Life), but it was torpedoed by John Howard after the proposal leaked, which never made it to cabinet.  Norton (self described as “Carlton’s lone small ‘l’ liberal”) is an advocate of the market but has also been a strong proponent of the demand driven system introduced by the former Labor government (see Why open access to universities works and should be left alone).  That ought to give a pointer to where this might be heading.

Pyne said that, as a matter of good practice, governments should monitor policies to ensure they are working as intended

The Government is committed to supporting innovation, competition and diversity in higher education and ensuring that quality is maintained and enhanced under the demand driven system.

Under the demand driven funding system that was introduced in 2012, the Government funds Commonwealth supported places for all domestic undergraduate students accepted into a bachelor degree course (excluding medicine) at a public university.

This system has seen the number of Commonwealth supported places expand from around 469,000 places in 2009 to an estimated 577,000 places in 2013.

The review will be inviting submissions from stakeholders responding to the below terms of reference.

Submissions can be sent to until midday (Australian Eastern Summer Time) on 16 December 2013.  Information on the submissions process should be obtained from  Review of Demand Driven System.

Scope of the review

The review will examine the following aspects of the demand driven system:

  •   the effectiveness of its implementation, including policies regarding the allocation of sub bachelor and postgraduate places;
  •  early evidence on the extent to which it is:

o   increasing participation; 

o   improving access for students from low socio-economic status backgrounds and rural and regional communities;

o    meeting the skill needs in the economy;

o   extent to which the reforms have encouraged innovation, competition, diversity and greater responsiveness to student demand including development of new modes of delivery such as online learning;

  •    whether there is evidence of any potential adverse impacts on the quality of teaching and of future graduates;
  •   measures being taken by universities to ensure quality teaching is maintained and enhanced in the demand-driven system; and
  • whether less academically prepared students are receiving the support they need to complete the course of study to which they have been admitted.

The review will recommend possible areas for improvement to ensure that the system better meets its objectives, is efficient, is fiscally sustainable, and supports innovation and competition in education delivery.

Conduct and Timing of review
The review will seek the views of major stakeholders and draw on available information and data.

The Review will report to the Minister for Education by mid-February 2014.

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