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The Coalition's online higher education working group

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The Coalition's Online Higher Education Working Group February 28, 2013

Strengthening Australia’s higher education and research sectors is an essential part of the Coalition’s plan to build a more diverse, world class, 5-Pillar economy.

International education is Australia’s fourth biggest export and our largest services export industry, making it a crucial part of our

economy and society.

The growth of online learning presents both an opportunity and challenge for higher education institutions and the economy more broadly.

It also presents an opportunity to provide students with more flexible and affordable tertiary education and to boost productivity

and quality by blending online learning into existing courses.

With online learning, we have the opportunity to take Australian research and knowledge to the world, complementing existing


At the same time, we must be vigilant to protect our universities’ strong higher education record, international rankings and reputation.

Australia cannot afford to be left behind and it cannot afford to get this wrong.

The Coalition is establishing an Online Higher Education Working Group to examine how Australian higher education institutions can capitalise on the potential of online learning without placing this major export earner at risk.

The Working Group will examine the key issues and challenges related to the development of online higher education in

Australia. The Working Group will consult widely with all relevant stakeholders to inform its response to these issues and challenges.

Now is the time to consider these important questions to avoid debate becoming simply a question of ‘bricks and mortar versus


While universities will continue to offer traditional higher education models, we need to be willing to embrace the opportunities of online learning. As a driver of national productivity, innovation and export earnings, our universities must always be willing to


We want our national higher education institutions to build on Australia’s existing strengths and we want to assist them in seizing the opportunities of online learning.

The Working Group will be chaired by Mr Alan Tudge MP, who will be assisted by Deputy Chair, Mrs Karen Andrews MP. The

other members of the Working Group will be Senator Fiona Nash, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Education, Senator Stephen Parry, Ms Nola Marino MP and Mr Rowan Ramsey MP.

Mr Tudge has extensive experience in education policy, having worked as Senior Adviser to former Education Minister the Hon Dr

Brendan Nelson and as an executive at Boston Consulting Group. He was a founder of Teach for Australia and is a Member of the House of Representatives education committee. He has degrees from Melbourne University and Harvard.

The Working Group will liaise closely with Shadow Minister for Universities and Research, Senator the Hon Brett Mason and

Shadow Minister for Education, Apprenticeships and Training, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP.

Submissions to the Working Group are invited from universities and other higher learning providers, academics, students, relevant organisations and the public with submissions closing on 30 March 2013.

A stronger education and research sector will contribute to delivering a strong, prosperous economy and a safe, secure Australia.

Tony Abbott Federal Member for Warringah | Leader of the Opposition

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28 February 2013

© Tony Abbott MHR 2010 | Authorised by Tony Abbott MHR, Level 2, 17 Sydney Rd, Manly NSW 2095

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