What role should universities play in today’s society?

  • Universities historically exist as institutions for the creation and dispersion of knowledge. But today, many young people enter university solely to prepare for careers.
  • In an era of demand-driven funding – where universities have the option to recruit as many students as they wish – is it beneficial for most young people to hold a university degree? Or is the benefit of a university education overstated, setting some young people up to fail?
  • Arguably, the higher the skill level of our workforce, the higher our country’s productivity.
  • But the nature of Australia’s workforce is changing.
  • Young people need to be prepared for a variety of roles in a future that will be transformed by automation and digitisation.

What is the role of higher education?

  • Higher education once represented a secure pathway to high-skill, high-wage jobs. But this pathway does not eventuate for over one in five young people who enter university but fail to complete their degrees.
  • We need to ensure young people are well informed about their course selection and are supported to complete their degrees.
  • Labour market outcomes for tertiary educated young people are far better than those without qualifications or who leave school early, but many still often struggle to gain a secure foothold in the labour market.
  • Data from the Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth reveal that graduate employment rates increase steadily upon bachelor course completion, rising to more than 90% by around 24 years of age. However, around one-quarter of those employed can only find part-time work.

Source link: http://theconversation.com/what-role-should-universities-play-in-todays-society-63515