Universities Must Teach the Skills Needed to Succeed in the Jobs of the Future: Education Minister

June 19, 2020 Updated: June 22, 2020

Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan has announced the Australian government will undertake a substantial reshaping of the university sector to make young graduates ready for the future economic environment after the CCP virus pandemic.

Acknowledging that Australia is facing the most significant economic shock since the Great Depression, Tehan noted the federal government wants students set up for job success.

“… If graduates succeed, they will power an economic recovery that benefits all Australians,” Tehan said at the National Press Club on June 19.

To help achieve this the government will create an additional 39,000 university placements by 2023, and 100,000 placements by 2030.

To pay for the university placements the government will change how much students and the Commonwealth contributes to their education costs so that it is equal to the cost of teaching the degree.

New students studying:

  • Teaching, nursing, clinical psychology, English, and languages will now pay 46 percent less.
  • Agriculture and maths will now pay 62 percent less.
  • Science, health, architecture, environmental science, IT, and engineering will pay 20 percent less.

To compensate for this structural change, new students studying:

  • Law and commerce will pay 28 percent more.
  • Humanities will pay 113 percent more.

“The changes are based at a unit level, not a degree level. This means that students studying arts can still reduce their total student contribution by choosing electives in subjects like mathematics, English, science, and IT within their degree,” Tehan said.

However, there will be no changes to the fee structure for medical, dental, and veterinary science students.

The government will also provide incentives for studying graduate areas like teaching, nursing, agriculture, STEM, and IT.

“We are encouraging students to embrace diversity and not think about their education as a siloed degree. So if you want to study history, also think about studying teaching. If you want to study philosophy, also think about studying a language. If you want to study law, also think about studying IT,” said Tehan.

Current students will not be subject to the fee change.

Job Readiness Post Pandemic Driving the Change

Utilising projections made prior to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic–commonly known as novel coronavirus—education minister Dan Tehan said the federal government was aware that over the next five years the overwhelming majority of new jobs would require tertiary qualifications.

The projections also noted that 62 percent of Australia’s employment growth would be in the areas of health care, science and technology, education, and the construction sector.

The course fee restructure aims to help young Australians be job-ready in the post-CCP virus pandemic economic environment.

“A job is more than a vehicle to earn money. It provides a sense of self and a means to contribute to your family, your community, and the nation,” the education minister said.

“Universities must teach Australians the skills needed to succeed in the jobs of the future,” he continued.

Tehan noted that students will still pay less for their degrees in Australia than they would for a similar degree in countries like the United States or the UK.

“In total, we expect that 60 percent of students will see a reduction or no change in their student contribution,” said Tehan.