This paper builds upon the work of the NCSEHE since its establishment at Curtin University, as well as four recent Building Legacy and Capacity workshops. The most recent of these brought together 28 researchers, practitioners, policymakers and policy influencers to advance a national conversation about the long-term strategic vision for student equity in Australian higher education.
This paper aims to outline the key concepts, challenges and contradictions associated with achieving student equity in higher education in an era of near universal participation, and point out possible options for resolving these challenges and contradictions.
Eight big questions are articulated to prompt discussion and feedback from the sector:
- What vision of student equity is most conducive to a high participation higher education system that confronts rapid technological change and continuing funding constraints?
- Should we extend our frame of reference to develop an equity vision for the tertiary rather than the higher education sector?
- How do we articulate a clear and compelling narrative for student equity with reference to overarching sector objectives?
- Do we need a whole new student equity vision and framework, or minor refinements to the existing vision and framework outlined in A Fair Chance For All?
- What could a multi-dimensional concept of ‘success’ in student equity look like?
- How do relationships with other aspects of public policy (education and non-education) need to be brought into alignment so as to achieve an implementable vision for equity?
- What changes to data collection, monitoring and evaluation approaches, capability and infrastructure are necessary to support the vision and ensure its continuous review?
- How can transparency be enhanced and accountability strengthened to ensure the vision for student equity is progressed?