The current role of the university in Australia is barely distinguishable from commercial research and development and its teaching role is also under threat. Open and accessible eLearning combined with workplace-based cognitive apprenticeship could substitute current higher educational functions in ways that would avoid doctrinal knowledge, be more democratic, accessible and individually tailored. With the online portfolio poised to replace the academic transcript, all the tools are now in place to make the university obsolete. If Australia does need universities, it does not need the ones we are getting. Would it make any difference to the nation at all if universities, like medieval monasteries, were mere relics of a past authority?
I wrote this essay this year: Does Australia need universities?
It was shortlisted, but sadly did not win the prize I submitted it to. I hope you enjoy it nonetheless!