Thursday, October 25, 2012

Universities Must Adapt or Perish: Report

English: School of Art at the Australian Natio...
School of Art at the Australian National University in Canberra. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
by Sunanda Creagh, The Conversation:

Australian universities will not survive the next 10 to 15 years unless they radically overhaul their current business models, according to a report released today.

The Ernst & Young report, titled University of the future: A thousand year old industry on the cusp of profound change, called on universities to specialise by targeting certain student groups, use their assets more efficiently and partner more closely with industry or be left behind.

“Current university models are living on borrowed time in Australia. Government funding is tight and is going to be tighter still in the next couple of political cycles,” said report author Justin Bokor, Executive Director in Ernst & Young’s Education practice.

“While they are not exactly businesses, they will have to run like businesses. They need to be lean and mean.”

The six month study, based on interviews with more than 40 leaders from universities, private providers and policy makers, predicted fierce competition for students and staff in future. The Internet will transform universities in the same way it has the media, entertainment and retail markets, the study found.

“One of our interviewees said, ‘Our number one competitor in 10 years time will be Google - if we are still in business’,” Mr Bokor said.

Universities should abandon the model of a broad-based teaching institution and pick a student segment to focus on, he said.

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