top of page
Image by Dom Fou

APEN response to interim UA report

The Australian Government has committed to an Australian Universities Accord to drive lasting and transformative reform in Australia’s higher education system. The Accord is an opportunity to build a visionary plan for Australia’s universities and higher education sector.

We submitted a response to the Accord’s Discussion Paper with recommendations for supporting Pasifika learners and communities in Australia.


An interim report on priority actions was released in late July 2023, where feedback across the higher education sector was gathered. APEN prepared a response to this interim report which can be downloaded in full here, with a summary of the main points below. 

APEN's response emphasises the importance of recognising Pasifika learners as an equity group, ensuring cultural responsiveness in community hubs, adopting Pacific Indigenous methodologies in research, and establishing a Tertiary Education Commission to enhance educational opportunities for Pasifika communities in Australia.

1. Expand equity definitions to include Pasifika and optimise data collection

  • The Accord interim report suggests specific participation targets for underrepresented groups, but APEN believes Pasifika learners require their own targets.

  • While Pasifika completion rates for Year 12 have shown improvement, university participation remains low.

  • APEN calls for Pasifika to be recognised as a designated equity group, underscoring the importance of accurate data collection to understand and address barriers to higher education access.

2. Ensure culturally responsive community hubs

  • APEN supports the creation of new Tertiary Study Hubs but emphasises the need for cultural relevance and inclusivity.

  • The hubs should be designed in consultation with local communities, particularly considering the concentration of Pasifika communities in certain geographic clusters.

  • Flexible schedules, wrap-around support services, and collaboration with local businesses and industries are essential for success.

3. Embed Pacific Indigenous methodologies and competencies

  • APEN supports international collaboration but emphasises the importance of adopting Pacific Indigenous methodologies and cultural competency when conducting research involving Pacific/Pasifika communities.

  • Cultural competence ensures meaningful collaboration and trust-building, preserving the agency and integrity of Pasifika people.

  • Higher education institutions should engage recognised Pasifika organisations to develop Pacific Cultural Competency frameworks.

4. Establish a Tertiary Education Commission

  • APEN welcomes the re-establishment of a Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) and the appointment of an Equity Commissioner (EC).

  • A centralised TEC could streamline policy development and resource allocation, benefiting equity groups like Pasifika learners.

  • The EC would prioritise the needs of underrepresented groups, enhancing policy effectiveness.

  • The TEC could improve collaboration among institutions, monitor performance, and respond to evolving education needs.

bottom of page