Geoff Maslen. For the first time, students from around the world can compare Australia’s 39 public universities on the basis of their courses, student satisfaction levels, the qualifications of academics, staff-student ratios, drop-out rates and graduate employment.
Although criticised immediately for including information of doubtful validity, the MyUniversity website is probably unique in providing so many comparative details of each university’s operations.
Launched on Tuesday 3 April in Canberra by Tertiary Education Minister Senator Chris Evans, MyUniversity is an interactive, searchable site that includes a wide variety of indicators. Evans said the site would “empower students to make the right call”.
“Enrolling at university is a huge life decision for young Australians and their families. MyUniversity will help ensure that students have all the relevant information to make an informed decision about what’s best for them,” he said
Evans said the site was designed to ensure accountability and transparency as universities began competing for students in Australia’s new demand-driven system after the government this year lifted limits on the number of students each university could enrol.
Creation of the A$1.5 million website was foreshadowed by then education minister Julia Gillard two years ago and follows similar ventures for Australian schools and hospitals.
The MySchools site has generated considerable controversy since it was launched in January 2010, and has resulted in league tables of schools being drawn up by some newspapers.
As well as basic information about courses, enrolment numbers, student backgrounds and gender, the site also provides details of amenities such as car parking and child care along with clubs, societies and other aspects of campus culture...