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Obsolete degrees? Why university education is out of touch

Luke Grant

An Ernst and Young research paper predicts that 40% of existing university degrees will be obsolete within the next decade.

 The report recommends a major revamp for the Australian tertiary sector, with the ivory tower institution continuing to fall short of employer demands.

Degrees that bear little relevance to workplace realities are the target of the report, with superfluous, theoretical content leaving Australia’s 1.3 million students with a useless piece of paper and an abundance of debt.

Richard Cawood from Ernst and Young says reshaping higher education needs to be a priority.

“The core problem here is that the world is changing at a faster rate than universities are,” he explains.

“That’s a massive problem for universities in this country.”

The Ernst and Young advisory director explains that this over-representation of redundant degrees may prompt new competitors into the tertiary education market. It is thought they will challenge the dominance of universities by offering more practical, workplace-transferable skills.

“They’re probably going to find a lot of customers will take them up.”

More flexible learning models may also enter the market, allowing students can do “ bits and pieces” of a degree, rather than the sit through the course duration.

“You can do a micro-certificate and cover a good deal of ground in four weeks that will have an immediate impact on your job.”

“You don’t need to be sitting in class for a whole year.”

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Luke Grant