The Best Chance for All: Student Equity 2030 — A long-term strategic vision for student equity in higher education
Type of Publication: NCSEHE publication
Lead Organisation: NCSEHE
Year Published: 2019
Lead Researcher: Nadine Zacharias
Nadine Zacharias and Matt Brett
In June 2018, the NCSEHE set out to develop a long-term strategic vision for student equity in Australian higher education through a national collaborative process under the banner of Student Equity 2030. The core outcome of this process is The Best Chance for All, a proposed national policy statement for student equity in Australian tertiary education.
The Best Chance for All represents the synthesis of feedback from stakeholders closest to student equity policy, research and practice obtained through a comprehensive consultation process conducted between June and November 2018.
At the start of the project, stakeholders were asked: “What does effective student equity policy, practice and research look like in 2030?” The answers to this question gave rise to a draft vision statement. Further consultation has led to the following policy statement for student equity in Australian tertiary education, complemented with specific practical recommendations for government and institutional action:
“The Best Chance for All”
Advancing Australia’s future depends on all its people, whoever and wherever they are, being enabled to successfully engage in beneficial and lifelong learning.
Contributing to: A fair, democratic, prosperous, and enterprising nation; reconciliation with Indigenous Australia; and cultural, civic and intellectual life.
Achieved by: An inclusively designed system with multiple entry and exit points; proactive removal of barriers to participation; and tailored support where needed.
Accountable through: An integrated approach to measuring success at institutional and national levels to align performance with policy objectives.
Recommendations for Future Policy, Practice and Research
- The Department of Education and Training (DET) should affirm and bolster references to the centrality of equitable education to nation building within relevant policy instruments.
- The DET should develop new success indicators in consultation with the sector. Performance measures should:
- have relevance to national policy objectives and localised need
- account for the evolving characteristics of student populations and course structures
- draw upon qualitative and quantitative data sources
- span the student life cycle
- reflect the potential for multiple learning engagements across an individual’s working life.
- Institutions should be expected to foster a nuanced understanding of the needs, challenges and preferences of their diverse student cohorts and design intentional, integrated and inclusive processes, curricula, and support systems to improve students’ chances of completion.
- Partnerships and collaborations between institutions and educationally disadvantaged communities should be enabled and coordinated ensuring that all communities are connected to the tertiary ecosystem.
- A comprehensive and evidence-based life cycle model for lifelong learning should be developed to accommodate transitions from vocational education and training (VET) to higher education and vice versa, transitions into postgraduate study and employment, and the emerging opportunities for lifelong upskilling and reskilling, such as micro-credentials and MOOCs.