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DEST (ed.), Review of Australian Higher Education - Discussion Paper June 2008, Canberry: 2008. ISBN 978-0-642-77743-0. Pages: 102.
Published by the Australian government’s Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, the paper draws on Australian and OECD statistical information on issues as revenue sources, participation rates and the sector’s contribution to the national economy. It explores Australia’s overt success in international student recruitment and discusses the role of HE in the national innovation system. The balance of home to international students has become an issue: some universities have placed caps on international numbers and some have set targets of 25% of students onshore from a wide range of countries and in a wide range of subjects. On the international proportion of its postgraduate research students, Australia does better than the OECD average (17.8% v. 16.5%) but worse than Switzerland and the UK (43% and 40%).
The paper also notes that in the UK and Australia, there has been a ‘sustained questioning’ of the ‘teaching-research nexus’ because of two factors: the number of academic staff not researching at any given time and the pressure to focus resources where they are likeliest to contribute to ‘internationally competitive’ research. It asks whether there is room for teaching-only universities in the system and, if so, why.