Continued Shrinking ICT Budgets Poses Serious Transformation and Sustainability Challenges for Australia's Education Sector in 2014: IDC Government Insights
13 May 2014
Overall Australian education standards, revenue from Higher Education institutions and ICT-enabled spending for education have been slipping, particularly in comparison to other developed global economies and a number of key East Asian countries (e.g. China, Korea and Singapore for instance).
IDC Government Insights' research found the following:
• Sustained shrinking budgets- 35% of all Australian education institutions are operating with reduced ICT budgets in 2013, compared to 2012. This is expected to continue into 2014;
• A lack of focus on ICT-enabled program execution discussions- There is a great deal of focus on educational outcomes for political reasons. However, very little is publicly focused on the role that ICT has to play for critical sector-wide transformations. IDC Government Insights' surveys found that education initiations are planning to implement higher bandwidth broadband, social networking technologies, mobility, and videoconferencing that can come together to create cutting-edge educational experiences. However such initiatives have not been clearly mapped out yet; and
• Australia's 4th largest export, the education sector needs serious transformation attention- The number of international students coming to Australia has sharply dropped since the peak in 2009 due to the high value of the Australian dollar, the increased cost of living in Australia, stronger competition from other countries, and disruptive sector forces from Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) for higher education. Notably, the international students Education Sector is Australia’s fourth largest export, following iron ore, coal, and gold. In 2012-13, education services for international students generated almost A$15 billion in export revenues.
More insights are revealed in the report, "Australia Education ICT Market 2012–2017” (Doc #AU245370)
"A climate of very high expectations relating to immediate return-on-investments, coupled with tight budgetary environments means that Australia's Education Sector is heavily stressed to deliver improved education services while being expected to do more with less. However, chasing productivity for productivity sake is pointless without clear long-term strategic outcomes that deliver tangible socio-economic values. Smart Education Initiatives may provide not only alternative pockets of funding but also help justify a more aligned approach towards matching the business of education and critical ICT investments for continued sector relevance," says Gerald Wang, Research Manager, IDC Government Insights Asia/Pacific.
"Education spending and investment, while always highly politicized, is a receiving a great deal of focus in Australia in 2014 as a consequence of the downward trajectory of outcomes, particularly in the K-12 segment. However, the conversation in Australia still has not extended to how technology in education can be part of an integrated strategy for improving those outcomes as well as driving administrative efficiencies. Declining budgets are not an excuse for not working to integrate technology solutions within traditional education strategies." concludes Emilie Ditton, Head, A/P Vertical Markets, IDC Australia.
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