Education enables upward socioeconomic mobility and is a key to escaping poverty. Over the past decade, major progress was made towards increasing access to education and school enrolment rates at all levels, particularly for girls.
– United Nations

In our actions, aspirations and achievements, we embody the United Nations commitment to providing quality education to all people at all levels.

As a 'dual sector' institution – offering both vocational and 'higher' education – we bring together the finest and most relevant practical, academic and research skills. In our strategy for the coming years, we aim to define this field. 

We have a deep and unwavering commitment to inclusion, respectful relationships and diversity, supporting our students to realise their potential, not despite, but because of, their personal background and experience.

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Research, engagement & education 2020-21

Research with impact

At Victoria University, research with impact is the development and sustained application of ethical knowledge in all its forms, done in partnership and collaboration, to address the challenges of people, place and planet.

Helder Gusso from ISILC collaborated with over 50 educational researchers from around the world on Dissolving the Dichotomies Between Online and Campus-Based Teaching as a Collective Response to the 2020 interation of the Manifesto for Teaching Online.  The response inevitably drew on the experiences of moving to digital, distant, online teaching under unprecedented conditions due to Covid 19.  The contributions reveal that the challenges were many and varied, ranging from the positive, breakthrough opportunities that digital learning offered to many students, including the disabled, to the problematic, such as digital poverty. The responses, taken together, show that The Manifesto for Teaching Online offers welcome insights into and practical advice on how to teach online, and creatively challenge the primacy of face-to-face teaching.

Jackie Hammilla, Thinh Nguyen and Fiona Henderson found that a gamified learning process incorporated in a flipped learning approach, where classrooms provide active learning activities, successfully motivated and engaged GenZ students in the education process.

Elizabeth Knight from VU joined Paul Koshy, Sue Webb and Alfred Dockery to identify the factors influencing students undertaking bachelor degrees in vocational institutions.  The researchers found that the degree enrolled students have higher household levels of cultural possession, are more likely to plan to enter university, and have higher self-assessments of academic ability than those undertaking traditional vocational qualification pathways, but lower than those who undertook bachelor qualifications at university.

Annie Venville and Tina Kostecki from VU joined educational researchers from Australian Catholic Universities to identify improvements for feedback in work-integrated learning partnerships (see edition 22(1)). Interviews with industry participants confirmed a need for: the introduction of more strategic and standardized approaches, and collaborative approaches based on rigorous and careful understanding of the WIL context.

The Centre for International Research into Education Systems (CIRES) released the Evaluation of the Fair Education Program In New South Wales report on a major initiative by the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation and Australian Schools Plus to support schools in disadvantaged areas. The evaluation confirms the program’s success for improving outcomes and the key features of the program’s support of schools.

Impact of learning from home on educational outcomes for disadvantaged children, by the Mitchell Institute and CIRES was commissioned by the federal education department and government to assess the impact of remote learning due to COVID on educational outcomes, and indicated a range of factors restricting learning from home for socially disadvantaged students and skills and competencies teachers need to effectively manage learning online.

The Mitchell Institute released a series of policy briefings to inform national policy considerations:

  • Australian Investment In Education: Higher Education analyses funding for universities over the past decade and the challenges posed to the sector through border closures in 2020 and the loss of international student revenue.
  • Australian Investment In Education: Early Childhood Education and Care proposes policy reform to: improve transparency and certainty of funding; invest in quality in all early learning services, including child care; and improving the transparency of private investment to simplify funding for families.
  • For Every Early Childhood Educator Matters, Mitchell brought together 33 researchers with expertise in early childhood education and care (ECEC) workforce development in a national roundtable to generate evidence-based policy ideas and presented findings in the report, to inform the National ECEC Workforce Strategy due for release in 2021.
  • Student-Centred Senior Secondary Schooling seeks to transform senior secondary learning and pathways through a commitment from governments to school-led reform, by sustaining a holistic focus on lifelong learning and by enhancing learning pathways.

Efrat Eilam, Veerendra Prasad and Helen Widdop Quinton, from the College of Arts and Education, examined the ways in which the Victorian curriculum educates senior-secondary students about the climate change crisis. The researchers propose curriculum reforms to address and incorporate climate change as a coherent body of knowledge.

A Mitchell Institute study revealed that following nearly a decade of growth in preschool participation rates from around 70 per cent in 2008 to more than 90 per cent in 2016/17, enrolment rates had worryingly decreased over the subsequent four years. In the context of persistent educational inequality, and with around one fifth of Australian children starting school with developmental vulnerabilities, this is cause for real concern. The report revealed a need to develop a consistent national approach in place of a patchwork of preschool policies, programs and costs across the country that resulted in differential access for children to two years of high-quality preschool that will provide a strong start to their educational journey.

A report from the Mitchell Institute showed that despite the federal government’s $1.7 billion changes to the childcare subsidy, that childcare would remain unaffordable for about one-third of families.  The consequence of unaffordable childcare is that children miss out on the developmental benefits of early learning. 

The Mitchell Institute produced a series of reports on the impact of the Covid-19 border closures on the university sector in Australia.  A review of university earnings showed that the drop in international student numbers and revenue impacted the smaller and less prestigious universities the most, with a harmful impact on their capacity to maintain the quality of the student experience.  Fifteen universities recorded a deficit for the 2020 year and most of the other universities barely broke even, with almost all of the sector’s surpluses held by three of the largest universities – the universities of Monash, Melbourne and Sydney.


By seeking to understand industry and community requirements, we can provide relevant, quality teaching and research that meets the needs of our partners, local industry and community and beyond.

Victoria University is a partner in the Footscray Learning Precinct, Australia’s largest education hub, providing integrated learning across all educational levels.  The Precinct connects schools, preschools and the university through the implementation of a common learning framework and shared facilities.  Footscray Precinct students were involved in the design and painting of a mural as part of Maribyrnong City Council’s StreetWORKS program delivered in partnership with VU and the Precinct schools.  VU also delivered the UrbanSWIRL program to teach Indigenous perspectives to Footscray High School students as part of their Community STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) project based learning.

The Mitchell Institute’s Adjunct Professor Peter Dawkins together with Professor Martin Bean has delivered the Review of University-Industry Collaboration in Teaching and Learning, commissioned by the Federal Department for Education, Skills and Training (DEST, now the Department of Education).  The Review recommended seven short-term actions government, higher education providers and industry can take to promote greater collaboration across the sector:

The Mitchell Institute contributed to the Review with a report on Industry Experiences and Their Role in Education to Work Transitions which found that: while higher education is still associated with strong employment outcomes at age 25, apprentices and trainees have some of the best employment and earnings outcomes; and there are increasing levels of part-time work among young people at age 25 and falling levels of wage growth over time.

Elizabeth Knight from VU joined Steven Hodge from Griffith University to provide a report to the National Centre of Vocational Education Research on integrating VET and higher education. This project looked at more highly integrated ‘consecutive’, ‘concurrent’ or ‘embedded’ VET and HE qualifications to determine whether and how they could be implemented more broadly.

The Mitchell Institute was seeking the establishment of a National Cadet Program to Improve Labour Market outcomes for Young People.  The development of the proposal was a joint effort by the Mitchell Institute and David Lloyd of the University of South Australia, with the involvement of the University of Tasmania, researchers from University of Melbourne and the Australian Industry Group.  As part of the efforts to develop the program, the Mitchell Institute in 2021 conducted a roundtable to bring together researchers and government members.  The roundtable purpose was to discuss labour market challenges for young people and the requirements for the design of the proposed program.  The roundtable was attended by researchers, the Vice-Chancellors of Victoria University and the University of Tasmania and officials from the Australian Treasury, DEST (now the Department of Education and the Victorian Department of Education and Training.

VU in the Community engages with local councils and communities in Melbourne’s West through place-based programs aimed at increasing access to educational opportunity and skills pathways. The following education and skills development programs were provided via the regional partnerships with local Councils:

  • In Hume – short courses for optimising online business visibility to supporting local business capacity in the context of COVID-19; Multiversity scholarship program for locals, new collaborations with industry and local government to develop a circular economy strategy and a new education program to bridge skills gaps for workers in early childhood services; and in collaboration with VU Polytechnic, the Skills and Careers: Your Way employability program for a group of vulnerable women.
  • In Wyndham – Wynnovation, offering intensive workshops to local small business owners in to learn the tools and skills to build their businesses; the Wyndham Learning Festival; and, the Community Classroom which provided local retailers with an opportunity to establish or build on their digital presence including social media, website and online store.

VU operates the Wyndham Tech School as a centre of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics learning for area schools. Programs were delivered to 35 schools for 24,500 Year 7–12 students.

Dr Jen Jackson was a member of the Macklin Review, Future Skills for Victoria - Driving collaboration and innovation in post-secondary and training, of post-secondary education, to ensure skills development for future economic growth. The Review contracted CIRES for two evidence reports.

The Mitchell Institute made two submissions to the Review, Skills Innovation at Victoria University, examining new ways of delivering tertiary education emerging within VU, and Skills for recovery: the vocational education system we need post-COVID-19, describes the key issues and charts a way forward to create a system that effectively supports a strong recovery from the pandemic.

VU’s Wyndham Tech School (WTS) is a centre of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics learning for area schools. Programs were delivered to 34 schools and over 22,000 Year 7–12 students.

AVID Advancement Via Individual Determination organised a national conference for school professionals in 2020: Lessons from lockdown, and what we learned from teaching and learning remotely. The event brought together teachers, researchers and NGOs from Australia and USA to share their learnings for remote delivery of school education.

Professor Gary Foley commenced free online ‘Black Fire’ lessons on Indigenous political activism and an alternative view of Australian history via Facebook and a series of online lectures for the public, badged Melbourne School of Discontent.


From childcare to school teaching to adult education, Victoria University offers a range of world-class, career-focused courses. Our support programs and pathways help our student-teachers to achieve their goals.

VU offers courses in teaching and education at all study levels, from vocational certificates and diplomas to masters of teaching programs.

The Bachelor of Education (P-12) is one of only a few programs in Australia that allows graduates to teach at any school level.  

The Kick Start program develops first-generation students through intensive workshops that focus on campus familiarisation and study skills, creating academic and personal support networks, and more.

Our educational pathways allow for the easy transitions between courses at different levels, helping people to progress from a certificate right through to degrees and postgraduate learning.

robots used in learning environment

Researchers found that where classrooms provide active learning activities, GenZ students were motivated and engaged.

Sustainability on campus

Victoria University has one of the highest proportions of first-generation students in Australia, with over 50% of students the first in their family to go to university.

Programs addressing Goal 4