The federal coalition’s higher education policy will have a focus on online learning.
The opposition is setting up a working group of MPs to explore how Australian universities can take advantage of growth in the online learning market.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has told the Universities Australia conference in Canberra it’s important to look at opportunities presented by technology that can improve on campus-based learning.
‘This is not about delivering courses cheaply, it’s actually about teaching better,’ he told the conference on Thursday.
The six-MP working group will report to opposition education spokesman Christopher Pyne by the end of April.
Mr Abbott also said universities needed government policy stability, to bed down major changes in recent years such as the move to demand-driven funding.
‘This is especially so at a time when they face a host of challenges that have nothing to do with government, such as adapting to the rise of online learning,’ he said.
‘Often, there is nothing that government can contribute except interference.’
Mr Abbott pledged that a coalition government, if elected on September 14, would be stable and consultative.
‘There should be a steadiness and purposefulness about the work of universities, which is unlikely to be present in the urgent unpredictability of politics,’ he said.