Coalition announces review of the demand driven system

Media Release
  • Minister for Education
  • Leader of the House

The Minister for Education, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, announced today that he had commissioned a review of the demand driven funding system for higher education.

The Hon. Dr David Kemp and Mr Andrew Norton will undertake the review and report to the Government in mid-February 2014.

“I believe as a matter of good practice, governments should monitor policies to ensure they are working as intended and this is what I am doing with the demand driven funding system,” Mr Pyne said.

“The Government is committed to supporting innovation, competition and diversity in higher education and ensuring that quality is maintained and enhanced under the demand driven system.”

Under the demand driven funding system that was introduced in 2012, the Government funds Commonwealth supported places for all domestic undergraduate students accepted into a bachelor degree course (excluding medicine) at a public university.

This system has seen the number of Commonwealth supported places expand from around 469,000 places in 2009 to an estimated 577,000 places in 2013. 

“Dr Kemp and Mr Norton bring considerable experience and expertise in higher education policy.  I have asked them to recommend possible areas for improvement to ensure the system better meets its objectives, is efficient, is fiscally sustainable, and supports innovation and competition in education delivery,” Mr Pyne said.

Dr Kemp is a former Minister for Education and before entering Parliament was Professor of Politics at Monash University. Mr Norton is the Higher Education Program Director at the Grattan Institute and a former higher education adviser.  Short biographies of each follow.

Dr Kemp and Mr Norton will be inviting submissions from stakeholders responding to the below terms of reference.

Submissions can be sent to DDSreview@education.gov.au until midday (Australian Eastern Summer Time) on 16 December 2013.  Information on the submissions process should be obtained from www.education.gov.au/review-demand-driven-funding-system .

The Hon. Dr David Kemp

The Hon. Dr David Kemp is a Fellow of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government and a Board Member of the Grattan Institute.  He was Professor and Vice Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Melbourne 2005-2010.  He was Senior Lecturer in Political Science at the University of Melbourne 1975-1979, and Professor of Politics at Monash University (1979-1990).

He graduated with Law and Arts degrees from the University of Melbourne, winning the Hearn Exhibition in Jurisprudence and the Gyles Turner Prize in Australian History.  He was a Fulbright Scholar 1968-71, attending Yale University, where he completed a Ph.D. (with distinction).  He is best-known in the academic world for his work on voting behaviour, and for his studies showing the decline of class-based voting and the rise of values-based politics. Publications include Society and Electoral Behaviour in Australia (St. Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press, 1978); Foundations for Australian Political Analysis: Politics and Authority (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1988), and numerous articles on policy and politics.  He recently edited Robert Menzies, The Forgotten People and Other Studies in Democracy.

Dr Kemp was a Member of the House of Representatives, representing the Victorian seat of Goldstein, from 1990 to 2004.  He was a Minister in the Howard Government 1996-2004, and held a number of portfolios in the areas of Education, Employment, Training, Youth Affairs, Environment and Heritage. In these portfolios he was responsible inter alia for Australia’s first national literacy and numeracy standards and benchmarks, the National Indigenous Literacy and Numeracy Strategy, the New Apprenticeship System, and new choice funding policies for independent and systemic schools.

In higher education he was responsible for the White Paper Knowledge and Innovation, encouraged the strengthening of regional universities, initiated the doubling of funding to the Australian Research Council (and other measures) in Backing Australia’s Ability, improved access to postgraduate education through extending the income-contingent loan scheme for fee-paying courses, and put in place an improved quality framework for international education.  He was Minister responsible for establishing Work for the Dole, the Job Network, the National Youth Roundtable, and was responsible for the legislative establishment of the new National Heritage regime and the rezoning of the Great Barrier Reef.

He was Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service from 1997-2001, in which capacity he was responsible for the new Public Service Act 1999.  He was Vice President of the Executive Council from 1998-2004, and a member of the Expenditure Review Committee in the third Howard Government.

Dr Kemp was President of the Liberal Party of Australia (Victorian Division) 2007-2011.

He has consulted with the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group on the establishment of a national training framework in China.

Mr Andrew Norton

Andrew Norton is the Higher Education Program Director at the Grattan Institute, a position he has held since 2011.  He is also an Honorary Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne.

Before joining Grattan, he was a higher education policy adviser to three University of Melbourne vice-chancellors between 2000 and 2011.  In the late 1990s he was higher education adviser to the then Minister for Education, the Hon. Dr David Kemp.  In his career as a higher education policy analyst and adviser, he has been involved in all the major higher education funding reviews of the last 15 years.

Mr Norton is the author of many articles, reports and other publications on higher education issues.  These include a widely-used reference report on higher education trends and policies, Mapping Australian higher education; and reports on a range of other issues including Graduate winners on the public and private benefits of higher education; The online evolution on how technology will affect higher education; Taking university teaching seriously on the need to improve higher education teaching; and Keep the caps off, an initial analysis of the demand-driven system.  Most recently, he was a co-editor of and a contributor to The Dawkins Revolution 25 Years On, an evaluation of the long-term impact of higher education reforms announced in the late 1980s.

Terms of Reference for Review of the Demand Driven System

Background
In 2012, the demand driven funding system was introduced for public universities.  Under this system, the Government funds Commonwealth supported places for all domestic undergraduate students accepted into a bachelor degree course (excluding medicine) at a public university.

These reforms have seen the number of Commonwealth supported places increase from around 469,000 in 2009 to an estimated 577,000 in 2013.  It is critical that this expansion in Australian higher education:
• enhances the knowledge and capabilities of Australians; and
• delivers quality graduates who are able to contribute to their society and thrive in the global economy.

Scope of the review
The review will examine the following aspects of the demand driven system:
1. the effectiveness of its implementation, including policies regarding the allocation of sub bachelor and postgraduate places;
2. early evidence on the extent to which it is:
a. increasing participation;
b. improving access for students from low socio-economic status backgrounds and rural and regional communities;
c. meeting the skill needs in the economy;
3. extent to which the reforms have encouraged innovation, competition, diversity and greater responsiveness to student demand including development of new modes of delivery such as online learning;
4. whether there is evidence of any potential adverse impacts on the quality of teaching and of future graduates;
5. measures being taken by universities to ensure quality teaching is maintained and enhanced in the demand-driven system; and
6. whether less academically prepared students are receiving the support they need to complete the course of study to which they have been admitted.

The review will recommend possible areas for improvement to ensure that the system better meets its objectives, is efficient, is fiscally sustainable, and supports innovation and competition in education delivery.

Conduct and Timing of review
The review will seek the views of major stakeholders and draw on available information and data.

The Review will report to the Minister for Education by mid-February 2014.

For more information

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