Responses invited: Student Equity 2030 Discussion Paper
The NCSEHE seeks contributions from key stakeholders in preparation of a strategic long-term vision for student equity in Australian higher education.
It is a decade since the last major review of the role that equity plays in Australian higher education was undertaken, the Bradley Review of Higher Education, and over 30 years since the core framework for equity was first defined in the 1990 White Paper A Fair Chance for All. It is time to take stock and rethink the vision for student equity in the context of the contemporary Australian higher education system and economy.
There is much to celebrate in the contributions of equity policy, practice and research to the success of the Australian higher education system and its impact on social wellbeing and economic productivity. An accessible, high-quality higher education sector that is integrated with global innovation systems has been a contributing factor to over a quarter-century of uninterrupted economic growth. However, inequality remains a concern, and many groups remain significantly underrepresented in higher education.
Student Equity 2030 Discussion Paper
The Student Equity 2030 Discussion Paper builds upon the work of the NCSEHE since its establishment at Curtin University, as well as four recent Building Legacy and Capacity workshops. The most recent of these brought together 28 researchers, practitioners, policymakers and policy influencers to advance a national conversation about the long-term strategic vision for student equity in Australian higher education.
This paper aims to outline the key concepts, challenges and contradictions associated with achieving student equity in higher education in an era of near universal participation, and point out possible options for resolving these challenges and contradictions.
Eight big questions are articulated to prompt discussion and feedback from the sector:
- What vision of student equity is most conducive to a high participation higher education system that confronts rapid technological change and continuing funding constraints?
- Should we extend our frame of reference to develop an equity vision for the tertiary rather than the higher education sector?
- How do we articulate a clear and compelling narrative for student equity with reference to overarching sector objectives?
- Do we need a whole new student equity vision and framework, or minor refinements to the existing vision and framework outlined in A Fair Chance For All?
- What could a multi-dimensional concept of ‘success’ in student equity look like?
- How do relationships with other aspects of public policy (education and non-education) need to be brought into alignment so as to achieve an implementable vision for equity?
- What changes to data collection, monitoring and evaluation approaches, capability and infrastructure are necessary to support the vision and ensure its continuous review?
- How can transparency be enhanced and accountability strengthened to ensure the vision for student equity is progressed?
How to submit your responses
Written submissions are invited in response to these questions (expanded upon in the full Discussion Paper), and feedback is also welcome beyond the specific questions on broader or other issues of relevance.
In addition to written feedback, a series of roundtable discussions will be held in major capital cities and regional centres where these questions can be explored in a collaborative and constructive conversational form.
Feedback from written submissions and face-to-face workshops will inform the development of a long-term vision statement, Student Equity 2030 which will be launched at World Access to Higher Education Day on 28 November 2018.