“Beer and beaches” hurts the Australian university brand?
The Chronicle of Higher Education posted this little article on the ‘brand image’ of Australian education. When my husband read it, he said, “It’s simply not accurate. I see far more people drinking wine on the beaches here than beer.”
|From the issue dated November 30, 2007|
‘Beer and Beaches’ Image Said to Hurt Australia’s Higher-Education ‘Brand’
Australia has lost its edge as a leader in higher education as universities in the United States, Canada, and Scandinavia discourage their students from indulging in a “sun, surf, and sex” experience down under, an official representing the nation’s research-intensive universities has warned.
Michael Gallagher, executive director of an eight-university Australian research group, said in a speech that the tourist images “surrounding much of Australia’s international-education marketing send messages other than valuing intellectual achievement” and that a “long tail of mediocrity” threatened the international reputation of Australian higher education. To counter the threat, he said, the country’s universities should concentrate their research money to create a tier of “big league” players in global research.
Mr. Gallagher, who leads the Group of Eight, told the audience at a colloquium at the University of Sydney that an Australian education was associated more with a “beer-and-beaches holiday” than a valuable learning experience.
Mr. Gallagher, who was responsible for the federal government’s administration of higher education from 1990-94 and 2000-2, said that while Australian education had been marketed as a “fair to good, average system,” tourism and immigration had “intruded into the branding message.”
His speech amplified fears among the nation’s elite universities that Australia has pursued a bulk rather than a quality strategy, to the point that an Australian degree is perceived as the educational equivalent of one of the country’s cheap chardonnays.
“‘Brand Australia’ has become problematic in several markets,” Mr. Gallagher said. “In some markets, such as in India, it is very much attached to high-volume, low-price, migration-driven offerings. That may make for good business in the short-to-medium term, but is of concern for Australia’s ability to form networks of influence through alumni in business, government, and the academic community over the longer term.” …