Universities Australia’s Chief Executive Belinda Robinson said the decision to abolish the OLT would dismay many in the sector.
“The OLT was supported by a small amount of funding but was making a big difference for teachers and students, including projects to improve teaching excellence and retention of students,” Ms Robinson said.
The scrapping of the OLT delivers Budget savings of $18 million and this is on top of a $16 million cut made in the 2015-16 Budget.
Ms Robinson said “one of the hallmarks of the program was its support of collaboration across the sector to raise the profile of teaching and learning and to develop innovative approaches to better engage students.
“It is critical to continue to have a national focus on the importance of teaching and learning and finding the most innovative ways to refine and improve out high quality education system”, she said.
The Budget has also used part of the $18 million in savings to boost resources for the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency (TEQSA) which oversees quality regulation and the Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT) website which helps students to make informed course choices.
“While universities are pleased to see the additional resources for TEQSA, it should not be at the expense of the highly effective OLT”, Ms Robinson said.
Although the OLT has been scrapped, the Government will continue the awards to recognise excellence in teaching.
The OLT is designed to promote and support change in higher education institutions for the enhancement of learning and teaching through:
- awarding grants for research projects;
- running awards to recognise excellence in teaching;
- supporting collaboration and sharing good practice; and
- and supporting professional development by academic staff.