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Review about the role of universities.

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Media Release


18 November, 2004 MIN 1008/04

I am releasing today a report which outlines a number of issues on the future role of universities in the Australian higher education sector.

The report reviews the National Protocols for Higher Education Approval Processes and the way in which we should define universities into the future.

The National Protocols currently outline only one model for an Australian university. This has been the subject of much debate in recent years since the issue was first raised during the review of higher education in 2002.

If Australia is to remain internationally competitive, we need to continue to consider ways in which we can encourage more diversity in the higher education sector.

The release of this paper today is timely and raises a number of issues dealing with the current approval process for higher education institutions, including:

● how much research should be undertaken in order for an institution to be approved

as a university, and what the definition of research might be; ● whether the National Protocols should allow for the creation of ‘specialist’

institutions covering only a narrow field of study rather than a wide range of disciplines; and ● whether the State and Territories’ approval processes can be streamlined,

particularly where courses have already been approved in other jurisdictions.

The National Protocols for Higher Education Approval Processes were developed by the Commonwealth and State and Territory Education Ministers in 2000 through the Ministerial Council for Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA).

This review of the National Protocols, which was conducted for the Commonwealth by Emeritus Professor Gus Guthrie, is aimed at ensuring the Protocols remain at the level of international best practice in underpinning a high quality, diverse and competitive Australian higher education sector.

I will be releasing a short discussion paper early in 2005 which brings together the recommendations proposed in the Guthrie Review in addition to those issues devoted to

the institutional approval processes that were raised during the review of higher education.

Following this I will be consulting nationally in 2005, with the higher education sector to be invited to make submissions in response to the issues raised. A national seminar will be convened next year prior to the issue being discussed by MCEETYA.

The Guthrie Review of the National Protocols is available at:

Media Contacts: Dr Nelson’s Office: Yaron Finkelstein 0414 927 663 Dept of Education, Science & Training: Robin Poke 0412 738 087