Continued Shrinking ICT Budgets Pose Serious Transformation and Sustainability Challenges for Australia’s Education Sector in 2014: IDC Government Insights

idcSingapore and Hong Kong, May 20, 2014 – Overall Australian education standards, revenue from Higher Education institutions and ICT-enabled spending for education have been slipping, particularly in comparison to other developed global economies and a number of key East Asian countries including China, Korea and Singapore.

IDC Government Insights’ research found the following:

  • Sustained shrinking budgets

35% of all Australian education institutions are operating with reduced ICT budgets in 2013, compared to 2012. This is expected to continue into 2014

  • A lack of focus on ICT-enabled program execution discussions

There is a great deal of focus on educational outcomes for political reasons. However, very little is publicly focused on the role that ICT has to play for critical sector-wide transformations. IDC Government Insights’ surveys found that education initiations are planning to implement higher bandwidth broadband, social networking technologies, mobility, and videoconferencing that can come together to create cutting-edge educational experiences. However such initiatives have not been clearly mapped out yet

  • The education sector, Australia’s 4th largest export, needs serious transformation attention

The number of international students coming to Australia has sharply dropped since the peak in 2009 due to the high value of the Australian dollar, the increased cost of living in Australia, stronger competition from other countries, and disruptive sector forces from Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) for higher education. Notably, the international students Education Sector is Australia’s fourth largest export, following iron ore, coal, and gold. In 2012-13, education services for international students generated almost A$15 billion in export revenues

More insights are revealed in the report, “Australia Education ICT Market 2012–2017” (Doc #AU245370)

Gerald Wang, Research Manager, IDC Government Insights Asia/Pacific, explains that a climate of very high expectations relating to immediate return-on-investments, coupled with tight budgetary environments means that Australia’s Education Sector is heavily stressed to deliver improved education services while being expected to do more with less.

“However, chasing productivity for productivity sake is pointless without clear long-term strategic outcomes that deliver tangible socio-economic values. Smart Education Initiatives may provide not only alternative pockets of funding but also help justify a more aligned approach towards matching the business of education and critical ICT investments for continued sector relevance,” Wang warns.

Emilie Ditton, Head, A/P Vertical Markets, IDC Australia, adds that education spending and investment, while always highly politicized, is receiving a great deal of focus in Australia in 2014 as a consequence of the downward trajectory of outcomes, particularly in the K-12 segment.

“However, the conversation in Australia still has not extended to how technology in education can be part of an integrated strategy for improving those outcomes as well as driving administrative efficiencies. Declining budgets are not an excuse for not working to integrate technology solutions within traditional education strategies,” says Ditton.

About IDC Government Insights

IDC Government Insights assists government policy, program, and IT leaders, as well as the suppliers who serve them, in making more effective technology decisions by providing accurate, timely, and insightful fact-based research and consulting services. Staffed by senior analysts with decades of government and IT industry experience, our global research analyzes and advises on business and technology issues facing the Federal/Central and local/provincial Governments.  International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology market. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world’s leading technology, media, research, and events company. For more information, visit the IDC Government Insights Community at

About IDC

International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 1,000 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. For more than 50 years, IDC has provided strategic insights to help our clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world’s leading technology media, research, and events company. You can learn more about IDC by visiting