University reform: Demand driven system has devalued degrees and made some feel like failures
Group of Eight chief executive Vicki Thomson has highlighted the broken state of the system in a wideranging speech she delivered today at the Graduate Employability and Industry Partnerships Forum.
She said the removal of caps on student numbers and the introduction of a “demand driven” system, had led to unintended consequences.
Universities were now pumping out an oversupply of graduates, making it hard for some to get jobs despite spending significant time and money on their education.
Ms Thomson also noted that the value of vocational study had also been eroded, with people forced to consider going to university “or be labelled a failure”.
Almost 40 per cent of Australians aged 25 to 34 years old now had an undergraduate degree, an achievement helped by the world’s most generous income-contingent student loan scheme (HELP).
But Ms Thomson said reaching this goal had not led to the “career utopia” many graduates dreamt of, and had come at enormous financial cost to the country.