Digitization “pulls” universities to a student-centric era

Australian universities are going through a rustle of activity.

The government plans to reduce the Education Investment Fund by $3.7 billion in 2017. But universities are advising the government to reconsider the decision.

Education is the third largest service export in Australia. It collected $19 billion in revenues, with international students contributing a fifth. In this situation, such a budget cut would result in a decline in innovation.

Increase in investment in technology by the government and university can propel the growth of the tertiary education sector.

In fact, the tertiary education is barely compensating for the loss in OECD ranking by knocking on the doors of technology – to increase student enrollment and to retain them as well.

BYOD – A Step forward to Digital Transformation

In this campaign, trends like Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is playing a crucial role. The trend, which promotes a sense of freedom, has proven to be cost effective. It enables learning to continue outside of classrooms.

Besides, it can prove beneficial to the university spending on technology. If university staff and students have their own devices, universities can control their budget on purchasing equipment. As staff and students will be familiar with their devices, it cuts complexities related to the technology use, saves time, and optimizes resources.

Australian National Broadband Network (NBN)’s role in providing faster internet connection is paramount in securing the universities’ new measures. It can offer its internet services to almost 4 million premises across Australia. This will make video streaming, conference, and calls simple and accessible. Acquiring required study materials will be that much easier for students.

Challenges

However, this also means that an entire ecosystem of academia and technology have to change and accommodate to survive this trend.

For one, with an unprecedented access to the internet, universities have to be recognizant of the cybersecurity as well. It is also the top priority of the students and staff.

Second, the odds are in the favor of old technologies compared to the new. For examples, the proposed budget cuts by the government, university staff’s preference for familiar old technologies, and their lack of understanding of the value of new technology are a few restraints.

Third, university professionals lament the lackluster response of large and established technology vendors to the technological disruptions. Hopefully, smaller market participants will seize this opportunity to compete for quality, price, and innovation.

But if the universities gear up to take on the challenge head on, they can successfully enter a new era of student-centric demand model. It will imply how students are the prime focus of the universities and academia.

This will hopefully pull the students and help them in their struggle with the government for more investment.


Sachi Mulmi is a researcher with Frost & Sullivan. She can be reached at sachi.mulmi@frost.com


Sapan Agarwal drives content and marketing for Frost & Sullivan. Sapan is based out of Kuala Lumpur Malaysia and can be reached at sapan.agarwal@frost.com | +603 6204 5830

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