6,855 students from every public university in Australia have rated the quality of their education experience at university, in a survey compiled by the National Union of Students. The survey shows that students from regional campuses are disadvantaged when it comes to accessing library resources and services, as well as highlighting the student perception of a cultural gap between domestic and international students.

“The Quality Survey was an exercise in putting forward the thoughts and feelings of university students on their educational experience. There is such an abundance of surveys that students are asked to complete by their universities, and we felt that running a survey for students by students was the way to get honest and accurate responses. I think NUS has achieved that,” said Carla Drakeford, President of the National Union of Students.

The survey was designed and administered by NUS over a two-month period with activists on the ground collecting data that was entered into an online survey format.

“The report uncovers the disadvantage faced by regional and distance education students – particularly when it comes to accessing basic resources such as library books and course materials,” she said.

“55% of students felt their university wasn’t doing enough to bridge the cultural divide between domestic and international students. The survey also found that many students were made to use ageing or obsolete equipment for their studies. Students also expressed concern at inadequate staff supervision of classes,” she said.

“In the context of a deregulated system, this survey must be used as a benchmark to ensure that quality is maintained in our universities. It is important that the student opinion is always taken into account when reforms are made to our education system,” she said.

NUS is putting forward 6 recommendations:
• Fix technological disparities between faculties
• Train staff in new classroom technologies
• Increase external students’ access to resources (i.e. Library)
• Increase Government support for students on placement
• Facilitate easy online access to internal university quality reports
• Dedicate more funding to student activities on campus

Carla Drakeford National President National Union of Students