Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Should Australia's universities merge across state borders?

The University of South Australia and University of Adelaide are merging. This will make an institution with about 60,000 students,  & one of the biggest in the country (after Monash). No doubt staff at both institutions have been crunching the numbers to see if the merged institution will go up in national and global university rankings. At present University of Adelaide is the bottom ranking of Australia's' Group of Eight top universities, and UniSA is not on the list at all. A bigger question is if a large geographically based university is a good model of the 21st century. 

Australia's capital city major universities are each a product of their state governments (apart from ANU, which was established by the national government). As a result each university operates mainly from the state capital, and within the state boarders. However, Australia is a nation, and education is now a global business. Should other smaller universities in Australia, which do not have the same state government patronage, seek to merge, but not restricted to state boundaries? In particular smaller regional universities could form larger geographic groupings, such as northern, eastern, southern, and western (the latter is of course, also a state boundary).

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