The "Australia US Alliance Conference in Canberra Australia-US: The Alliance in an Emerging Asia" conference in Canberra (streamed live online) has got onto the topic of education. One of the panel commented that while the USA has some excellent universities, the lower end of their institutions have problems. They also commented that Australia has quality education at the lower level and also high completion rates. There were concerns expressed about high Australian costs making our higher education sector less competitive and we have a lack of ICT and language students. This discussion was interesting but seemed to lack awareness of the e-learning revolution currently overtaking education. The discussion was a little like one about the cost of horse drawn wagons just as motor vehicles where about to render them obsolete.
There are some universities which have started making the change in the way education is provided. As an example, I have been teaching international masters students online at the Australian National University since 2009. More recently I have proposed teaching Chinese and Australian students online together.