If the sector does not evolve, COVID could drive Australian universities into bankruptcy: EY report

A group of consultants has declared that Australian higher education institutions need to reform themselves in order to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

By 2030, the EY Consultants Group faces a $ 5 billion (US $ 3,656 million) to $ 6 billion (US $ 4,278 million) revenue decline and a 50% reduction in non-research jobs in the Australian university sector. Shut down or rebuild the entire sector. He added that a quarter of Australian universities could be facing bankruptcy.

We refer to interviews with more than 30 seniors from universities in Australia and New Zealand.The peak of higher education “ The report concludes that the long-term future of higher education in Australia will be far more disruptive than initially thought of in a pandemic business model.

“The pandemic has significantly eased the excessive reliance on Oceanian international students’ income, and assumed that today’s sector structure, competitors, and profit pools will persist throughout the next five to ten year planning period. If so, we have shown how universities create significant systemic risk. ”According to the report.

Universities have also declared that they have lost their accredited monopoly, non-degree qualifications have become more mainstream, and more employers and peak institutions have entered the accredited market as labor skill providers.

Predicting that demand for traditional higher education will never return to pre-pandemic peak levels in 2019, the treatise also encourages universities to “cause confusion” within the sector to create new markets. doing. We also encourage you to differentiate your services and commercialize your research for new sources of income.

The Group of Eight (Go8), Australia’s eight major research-intensive universities, which account for nearly 70% of the sector’s research activities, is a long-term sustainable financing model for the sector to survive the pandemic. I agree that there is an urgent need to formulate. ..

Go8 CEO Vicki Thomson said the group alone cut 4,000 jobs and lost more than $ 780 million in revenue in the first year of COVID-19 alone. I did. ..

“Australia’s higher education sector looks different on the other side of the pandemic, has fewer international students, has different ways of providing education, and is focused on research,” she told The Epoch Times on August 20. Told.

“There is widespread awareness that business models need to change, which requires government, industry and the higher education sector to work together to develop long-term sustainable models.”

However, she said the government has prioritized the commercialization of research, which is an important part of the changes proposed in the EY report, and is confident that the goal is achievable.

“The Australian Government understands the importance of research conducted at eight Australian universities, especially its contribution in the context of COVID,” she said. “Commercialization of research is a priority of the Australian Government, but we need to consider incentive programs to promote collaboration between researchers and businesses.”

The Australian University (UA), the sector’s peak institution, is more conservative about the proposals made in the EY report, arguing that current business models, including on-campus learning, will continue to be valued by both domestic and international students. I am.

“Australian universities are optimistic about the future,” UA CEO Catriona Jackson told The Epoch Times. “They are among the best in the world, offering world-class tuition, educating future generations and preparing for a rapidly changing world of work.”

She believes that her current business model will persist in the post-pandemic era, and universities are also adapting to new challenges.

“All the great reasons why Australian college education proved to be very attractive before COVID-19 will appeal to students even after the pandemic is over,” she said.

“University staff and students have done the amazing job of moving to online learning between blockades and border closures, but for the vast majority of people, they are eager to return to campus as soon as possible.”

Sophia Jean