Empty Lecture Hall

News // 05.02.2016 // Curated by Ed.

Loss of students for the right reasons?

This morning we heard that New Zealand universities and other tertiary institutions are facing the loss of 10,000 students over the next three years. The forecast predicts 7% fewer domestic students will enter degree and post graduate courses although the number of school leavers will only decrease by 1 to 2%.

There is a range of possible reasons for this, but we do hold hopes about the reasons behind this trend.

  • Does the better job market mean people are finding work more easily and so not going on to study?
  • Is the paradigm around learning beginning to change – recognition that simply getting a degree isn’t the only pathway to success?
  • Are online resources, flexible courses, industry training opportunities and other offerings widening the choice for learners?

Learners need to be equipped to thrive in the 21st century world.  Examples of innovation like Enspiral’s DevAcademy and others are showing there are new options for making that happen.  In many ways, traditional education was made for another time.  Today’s news might suggest the pace of change may be picking up. Bring it on!

Students can now expect institutions to fight harder to entice them. With competition for enrolments ramping up, scholarships will be one of the key incentives on offer.  Institutions may have to focus their resources on their strongest programmes and on making sure their value is clear.

Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce said the government would use the downturn to increase its funding to the sector. We welcome support for institutions to adapt to the changing needs of learners.  But let’s make sure we keep our focus forward – because that’s the way we’re going.