Australia Current IT Enrolments Decline – A Case of Conflict Between National Capacity-Building and a Market-Driven University System

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From 2002 to 2005, as overall university enrolments increased by about 7 per cent, IT suffered an 18per cent crash, says the study, The IT Education Bubble, by Ian Dobson of Monash University’s Centre for Population and Urban Research.

The (Australian) Federal Department of Education, Science and Training figures for 2006 not included in the study show the drop is accelerating: last year there were 9000 fewer IT enrolments than in 2005, a one-year fall of 18 per cent.

Australian Council of Deans of Science president John Rice said the higher proportion of international students in the IT field did not solve Australia’s IT skills shortage.

International students made up 48 per cent of the IT enrolment in 2005 (from 40.5 per cent in 2002).

Professor Rice said the report showed a “clear instance of a conflict between national capacity-building and a market-driven university system”.

“Half of our capability investment in (information and communication technology) is destined to leave the country unless retained through immigration,” said Professor Rice, dean of science at the University of Technology, Sydney.

“That half is something that can’t be used by many organisations.”

Continue reading the full article “IT enrolments in dramatic decline” (The Australian Higher Education)

Berno: Two themes which really struck me from the above quoted paragraphs:

a) Despite efforts from recent years by IT recruitment companies and companies like Microsoft, Aussie kids are not drawn to take up IT/ CS places in our universities. Why? Our current society is clearly not providing enough recognitions and rewards for IT and technical disciplines. Prospective students would compare IT and Business degree career outcomes and their place in the world. Well, guess what? The present perceived value point towards a business degree.

b) “That half is something that can’t be used by many organisations.” If this enrolment malaise is not promptly and properly addressed, our pipeline of skilled and competent IT and CS graduates will only get worse. Who will develop our next generation of innovation? University admission scores for IT courses are currently around the low 70s mark. How much lower can we get before we lost the interests of academically talented students? Clearly, no one wants to be associated with a lack lustre field.

PS: Check out the comments section listed below the article too.

2 thoughts on “Australia Current IT Enrolments Decline – A Case of Conflict Between National Capacity-Building and a Market-Driven University System

  1. I think as an industry… IT in australia needs to have a more nuturing nature (no pun intended), and more VC interest in IT startups… there simply is not enough higher end tech positions, e.g. director level tech programmer (head programmer of a huge team who has a real say in business decisions), and not enough VCs around to fund Aussie innovation…

  2. Pingback: Australia Current IT Enrolments Decline - A Case of Conflict Between National Capacity-Building and a Market-Driven University System

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