University courses in Australia: Half of degrees will soon be ‘obsolete’


Summary: Quite a good example of the kind of surface level engagement with issues of the future of universities. The article demonstrates a utility-based rhetoric and simplistic assumptions about value creation and return on investment. Not surprisingly it’s based on a policy report from a professional services firm and is mainly a retread of the press release.

Snippet: NEARLY half of existing university degrees could be obsolete within a decade leaving graduates with “more debt and poor job prospects” if Australia’s university system is not drastically overhauled, a new report has warned.


1. Champion University: A hands-on government actively champions universities as strategic national assets. Most students enrol in traditional undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Universities streamline operations by transforming service delivery and administration.

2. Commercial University: A hands-off government requires universities to be financially independent to ease national budget pressures. Students favour degree programs that offer work-integrated learning. Universities reposition by drawing closer to industry to collaborate on teaching and research.

3. Disruptor University: A hands-off government deregulates the sector to drive competition and efficiency. Continuous learners and their preferences for on-demand micro-certificates dominate as technology disrupts the workplace. Universities expand into new markets and services and compete against a range of new local and global educational services providers.

4. Virtual University: An activist government restructures the tertiary sector to integrate universities and vocational institutes, prioritising training and employability outcomes as humans begin to be replaced by machines. Continuous learners are the majority, preferring unbundled courses delivered flexibly and online. Universities restructure into networks that share digital platforms.

Source: EY University of the Future

Source: University courses in Australia: Half of degrees will soon be ‘obsolete’