What will the future look like for Australia after the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic?
All of us want an end to serious health worries, economic distress and dislocation. And those of us who are parents hope it will provide an education for our children and the prospect of a good job afterwards.
Australia’s universities have a crucial role to play in delivering a better future.
Universities are ideas factories; ideas that eventually become new industries, new jobs and new prosperity. Universities are important places where Australians, young and not-so-young, go to gain new skills, new insights and new job prospects.
Yet we’re in danger of blocking the ideas and innovation universities create, just when we need them more than ever.
Universities Australia estimates released last month suggest the future facing our universities, and the world-beating education and research they do, is bleaker than we first thought.
Updated modelling, based on the latest international student enrolment projections, tells us that between $3.1bn and $4.8bn in revenue for the sector could be at risk. The previous estimate ranged between $3bn and $4.6bn.
And that is just for this year.
The outlook for the medium term is even more concerning: disruptions this year will have a domino effect for years to come.