Unis told the age of the on-campus classroom is dead

A new report says university campus classrooms are dead and institutions cannot afford to stick to the status quo

Aug 16, 2021, updated Aug 16, 2021
The University of Queensland. (Photo: ABC)

The University of Queensland. (Photo: ABC)

Professional services firm EY has urged universities to abandon the status quo to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

They have also been told to turn to the corporate sector, rather than the federal government, for research funding.

Universities no longer have a monopoly on accreditation and have to work more closely with industries and employers to keep up.

The report urges institutions to use Spotify-like platforms that let students stream personalised learning materials at their own pace.

“The classroom is dead,” EY’s report on Monday said.

“Imagine that accessing learning in 2030 is like listening to music via Spotify in 2021.”

The industry was struggling to make up for the lack of international students as Australia’s borders remained shut.

Flinders University Vice-Chancellor Colin Stirling said the sector had to prevail.

“The (universities) ask and answer un-google-able questions. And we need to be better at passing on this critical skill to our students,” he said.

Education Minister Alan Tudge did not think the situation for universities was as dire.

He told a higher education summit the majority of universities entered the 2021 calendar year in a relatively strong financial position.

The sector’s net assets had increased by two per cent on the previous year to $63.1 billion. Cash and investments rose by about 10 per cent to $24.9 billion.

Efforts were continuing to get international students to Australia, despite swathes of the country in lockdown.

“When student numbers do come back, we need to do it differently, to get greater diversity, to have better alignment with skills shortages,” Tudge told Monday’s summit.

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