UA is the peak body for Australia’s 39 comprehensive universities. Our member universities are spread across Australia in both regional and metropolitan areas. They educate more than a million students each year, undertake all of the university research in Australia and engage globally to add to the country’s stock of knowledge, as well as Australia’s economic and social wellbeing.
UA supports the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly recognising the importance of working with and across governments, industries and communities to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all. Universities support this endeavour by being embedded within their communities through initiatives that encourage partnership with community organisations that particularly support greater access to university for Indigenous students, while also focussing on research that delivers positive outcomes for the local, national and international community.
UA supports the Department of Education’s Draft National Statement of Commitment in principle. UA is committed to working with governments, industries and communities to deliver world-class education, while providing access to all people, regardless of their background, to receive education that prepares them for various careers, gain new perspectives, and develop lifelong skills, expertise, networks and critical thinking. All of these characteristics are necessary for responding to economic, environmental, social and technological challenges affecting Australia’s, and indeed the global community’s, future. As identified in the draft statement, while the transformation of teaching and learning across all levels of education has been innovative and enabled participation from a diverse range of groups, the changes have highlighted other inequities in education, particularly the digital divide between metropolitan and regional populations. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has also highlighted inequities and shortages within Australia’s teaching workforce that will continue to have significant repercussions on the country’s future if not carefully addressed through close consultation of teacher experiences, and identification and action on cultural impediments to teaching.
Harnessing the resilience and resourcefulness education providers have demonstrated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly universities’ contribution to research and providing innovative ways of teaching and learning, while actively supporting them, will ensure Australia continues to deliver on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.