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Myths about Australian education, a report says

Clearing the Myths Away: Higher Education’s Place in Meeting Workforce Demands. Birrell, Bob and Rapson, Virginia. Centre for Population and Urban Research, Monash University / Dusseldorp Skills Forum, October 2006, ISBN 0 9750250 4 X, 21 pages (on-line version).

Higher education and training policies in Australia are partly based on misinterpretations of reality - this is a conclusion of a joint report of the Centre for Population and Urban Research at Monash University and the Dusseldorp Skills Forum. The research focused on the relationship between Australia’s changing labour market and education. The report claims to debunk 3 myths about Australia’s higher education which have impacted the national policy and debate:

Myth 1: Too much emphasis is placed on university education. In reality, the fastest growing areas of workforce widely rely on workers with tertiary qualifications. At the same time, university enrolment of domestic students has hardly increased over the past decade.

Myth 2: A choice must be made between trade training and university education. Fact is that a big number of young Australians cannot meet the demands of technical, analytical and managerial jobs, the economy’s strongest growth areas. The country should increase participation in both higher education and vocational training.

Myth 3: There will be declining numbers of young people entering the workforce. Evidence shows that Australia is not running out of young people since the share of the 15-19 year-olds is likely to increase in the next 50 years. What is important is to skill the young Australians.

Some measures urged for by the report are:

  • Sharp increase in the number of funded university places for domestic students;
  • Improved student accessibility to university campuses;
  • Better financial support for students from families of modest income.
Clearing the Myths Away: Higher Education’s Place in Meeting Workforce Demands