Higher education is an important topic around the world: never more so than now as we face a global recession and as the role of universities in contributing to economic prosperity is up for fresh examination.
Not surprisingly, much of the attention has been on whole education systems, funding schemes and the performance of providers. Overwhelmingly, we could say, scrutiny and prediction have focused on what might be called the supply side of education: systems, providers, teachers, curriculum and outcomes.
Much less focus has been placed on the student or learner: the demand side. True ‘student experience’ is a current catchcry, fuelled by the rise of education markets and the imperative for many providers to attract enrolments. Universities have spent significant time, effort and funding variously trying to optimise or transform it. Even here, however, we tend to veer towards the ‘experience’ rather than ‘the student’, perhaps because it is something over which we might have some control.
In this report, KPMG Australia seeks to redress that imbalance: our research and recommendations are based on consultation with sector experts across all parts of Australia’s education system, national student representatives, global research on universities’ student-centricity and evidence of how disruptive forces will impact higher education and students themselves will change in the 2020s.
We propose ways to design and deliver student experiences that authentically engage with each learner's abilities, aspirations and circumstances, cognisant of the changing world in which students and universities will operate.
We also suggest ways to develop an evidence-based student strategy and outline KPMG Connected Enterprise for Higher Education as a holistic way of advancing student-centred institutional reform in terms of capabilities, technology and operating model.
We hope you find the report useful as a thought-provoker and practical guide to building institutional sustainability based on deeply student-centric approaches. As Australia’s universities chart their post COVID-19 course, they cannot assume that more of the same will be sufficient when it comes to attracting and partnering with students on their educational and professional journeys.