31 August 2010, by Prof Elizabeth Harman
Currently, in dealing with low SES students, universities often operate like enthusiastic amateurs. They have many bright ideas funded from a myriad of sources. The ideas may have a limited impact and are not easily scaleable to reach large numbers of students; they manifest as interventions within universities to attract and retain students, and externally in university partnerships with schools and VET providers. With the best of intentions, tertiary programs that seek to partner with schools appear haphazardly across the country and within institutions themselves, often getting in the way of their own and schools’ operations. We have limited evidence as to which of these ideas are working, which deliver a real ‘bang for the buck’, and which can be scaled up to reach a substantial number of students.