The impact of COVID-19 on the higher education sector has been significant. Deakin University has indicated that it faces a revenue loss of $700 million over the next few years as a result of the pandemic, with a significant drop in international student numbers.
The Federal government has provided a ‘rescue package’ to universities, which provides some certainty to the university’s future domestic funding, however it will not alleviate Deakin’s immediate challenges. Unfortunately, this will lead to staff job losses.
The Pillar is disappointed that there has been no movement on the Geelong Secondary Schools and Community Digital Learning Hub.
One of the impacts of students moving to remote learning is that it has reduced the demand for high-speed internet at school. As students return to school and put pressure on the current system, this issue will re-emerge.
The Pillar heard from Ourschool CEO Caroline Milburn, whose not-for-profit initiative helps former school students connect with their old secondary schools.
Building supportive alumni networks is a practical way to help schools lift student aspirations, broaden student opportunities and enhance equality of opportunity in school education.
Four G21 region secondary schools have participated in the pilot of Ourschool. The Pillar were happy to write a letter of support to the Minister of Education endorsing a funding request of $150,000 each year over the next four years to allow it to continue and expand.
At the start of the year, the Pillar was looking to source funding to contribute towards a G21 Region Learning Strategy. Unfortunately, with the negative financial impact of the pandemic on the education sector, this has been deferred.
The Pillar received presentations including a survey of Geelong’s employment and HR landscape, the need to build the capacity of Geelong’s healthcare wrkforce and the Northern Bay Ourplace program.
From G21’s Report to the Region 2020