Higher education institutions in Queensland make a significant contribution to economic growth, developing social capital and helping to build community capacity within the state. The department provides regulatory services and state assistance to support quality and accessible higher education now and in the future.
The department's higher education goals are to:
- manage the administration of state-enabling legislation for Queensland universities, the regulatory framework, and university and government relations
- develop appropriate policy responses to higher education issues, at both the state and national levels
- uphold the standards of education delivered by higher education institutions operating in Queensland
- enable growth in diversity and choice in the higher education sector, and maintain public confidence in higher education in Queensland
- implement a range of strategies to increase the number of Queenslanders with higher education qualifications and professional skills through actions within government and with relevant industries and higher education institutions.
For more information about the legislative framework for higher education institutions see About us - Summary of key legislation
The higher education sector in Queensland currently comprises nine universities and 26 non self-accrediting higher education institutions. Higher education courses are those listed under the Australian Qualifications Framework and include the following awards:
- Advanced Diploma
- Associate Degree
- Bachelor Degree
- Graduate Certificate
- Graduate Diploma
- Masters Degree
- Doctoral Degree
The department is responsible for administering the regulation of higher education in Queensland on behalf of the Minister. Universities are established under individual Acts because they are self-accrediting. All other higher education institutions are regulated under the Higher Education (General Provisions) Act 2008, including overseas institutions operating in Queensland and delivery of Australian qualifications by Queensland institutions offshore.
Table 16 demonstrates that the department's regulatory and advocacy roles continue to support growth in the sector, both for domestic and international markets.
Table 16: Reported activity within higher education
|Total number of students enrolled in Queensland universities||184 352||187 533||190 660||195 000|
|International students enrolled in Queensland universities||43 702||49 400||50 289||48 400|
|Number of applications for new courses||14||23||33||14|
|Number of applications for courses to be re-accredited or re-approved||5||41||23||11|
|Percentage of students at Queensland universities in Brisbane||60%||60%||60%||60%|
|Percentage of students at Queensland universities located outside of Brisbane||40%||40%||40%||40%|
Source: Department of Education and Training - State Budget - Service Delivery Statement/ Ministerial Portfolio Statement
In 2008-09 the department:
- introduced new legislation to implement the revised National Protocols for Higher Education Approval Processes
- managed higher education approval processes within a revised national quality framework to maintain confidence in the state's higher education sector locally, nationally and internationally, and foster a diversity of educational opportunities for Queenslanders
- led the development of the Queensland Government submission to the Review on Australian Higher Education (Bradley Review), including commenting on the impact of any proposed reforms on Queensland institutions and students, and responding to the review's findings
- contributed to the Queensland Government submission to the review of the Australian Innovation System
- implemented initiatives under Building Bridges to the Professions in the Queensland Skills Plan 2008 (new window)
- reviewed mechanisms for providing external strategic advice to the Minister and government on higher education, including the role of the Higher Education Forum.
This element of Queensland Skills Plan 2008 (new window) aims to increase the number of graduates to address professional skills shortages. The role of the Office of Higher Education is to collaborate with stakeholders involved in related initiatives and to coordinate activity. Progress has been made in relation to:
- nursing, particularly arrangements for clinical placements in nurse education
- promoting ICT professions
- advocating for Queensland in national forums
- developing a statement of strategic intent between government and universities
- identifying priority areas of professional skills shortages
- researching factors affecting the participation in higher education by people from low socioeconomic status backgrounds
- researching generic approaches to articulation arrangements between VET and higher education institutions.