The education minister urges universities to take better care of students
Mar 7, 2016 | News | by The Learning Press staff
The nation’s universities deliver a quality education according to the vast majority of their students - but the education minister thinks they should do better.
A survey released this week shows 80 per cent of students are satisfied with the overall quality of their educational experience, up from 77 per cent in the previous year.
The 2015 Student Experience Survey is based on responses from over 145,000 students and found 82 per cent of students were satisfied with the teaching quality in their courses and 86 per cent were satisfied with the quality of their learning resources.
But education minister Simon Birmingham says there is “work to be done”, arguing more than one in four students want better support and higher quality learning materials.
“Universities must take responsibility for those students they choose to enrol and ensure they have the capabilities and support to succeed,” said Senator Birmingham.
“While this survey highlights there have been improvements in the experiences of students in many areas, it also shows there is still work to be done to address the cause of attrition rates.
“We want to ensure our universities are delivering the world-class education that students want so they can produce well-rounded graduates that are prepared to embrace the jobs of the 21st Century.”
Universities Australia, the body representing the nation’s universities, has meanwhile welcomed the findings as a vote of confidence in higher education - at a time when it has been under particular scrutiny.
Chief executive Belinda Robinson said: “Levels of satisfaction have been maintained since the introduction of the demand-driven system, which coincided with the first of these surveys.
“Since this time, an increasing number of students - from diverse social and economic backgrounds - have had the opportunity to obtain a world-class university education.”
Minister Birmingham said the research, by the Government-funded research group Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching, should help focus efforts on supporting more students to finish their courses.
The survey highlights a number of reasons why students consider leaving university before graduating, including poor study/life balance, boredom, unmet expectations and a lack of career prospects post-study.
The attrition rate for university students nationally is around 15 per cent.
“Statistics like these are why I have asked the Higher Education Standards Panel to ensure Australian students are ‘uni-ready’ by providing greater transparency around what support is available and what will be expected of them through their studies,” said Senator Birmingham.
2015 student satisfaction percentages are higher for UK and US students - between 3% and 10% up on Australia depending on the stage of learning at which they were surveyed.