The 2016 Education Review has commenced. Gae Robinson, Convenor of the Education Council Committee and Principal at Finity, outlines the purpose of the review and tells us how members can provide feedback on all aspects of Parts I, II and III of the qualification education program.
The Institute’s Council has initiated a root and branch review of the Institute’s qualification education program. The review will cover all aspects of the education program – Parts I, II and III, and will take account of the Institute’s Strategic Plan 2015-17 and the resources available. The review will include research and consultation with members, employers, accredited universities and other stakeholders. The review’s deliverable will be a report presented to Council in March 2017. It will provide alternatives/options to the current approach to qualification education which are practical, and affordable and sustainable and recommend a model for qualification education which meets the future requirements of the profession and individual actuaries.
The FIAA and AIAA qualifications are at the centre of the value proposition for Members. It is important that these qualifications remain highly valued. The qualification system has been under increasing pressure over the past decade, and there is now added impetus for a review given a number of changes internationally which will impact the Institute’s current education program.
The key elements which are relevant to consider are:
- the changing nature of the roles played by our profession and views on what type of qualification education is most relevant for qualified actuaries;
- the cost (in time and dollars) of qualification for students – both absolute and relative to other actuarial bodies;
- the Institute’s ability to properly fund the operation and enhancement of the system, including, in particular, our reliance on (unpaid or low paid) ‘volunteers’;
- competition from other actuarial bodies in Asia where 13% of the Institute’s membership sits;
- proposed changes to the qualification education syllabus by the International Actuarial Association, and the subsequent implementation proposals by IFoA, and Society of Actuaries;
- the relationship between the objectives of the seven Australian accredited universities, and the objectives of the Institute;
- the evolution of the education industry, with a move towards online education, Universities with globally focused strategies and free education eg. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs); and
- the need to have an education model which is flexible enough to adapt over time.
In combination, these factors will impact the effectiveness of the Institute’s qualification education system, in the medium to longer term. At the very least the Institute will need to make a decision about how to respond to the IFoA’s proposals given the strong linkage between the Australian and UK systems.
The consultation process starts now, with a survey going out to all Members and an Insights session being held on 17 November in Sydney (webinar available for other locations). Over October to December 2016 input will be gathered from consultations and will be used to form an early range of options to test with members and other stakeholders across December 2016 to January 2017. Over February the options will be narrowed to form a realistic set of recommendations and viable business model for Council’s consideration in March 2017. Following a decision by Council, an implementation plan will be drafted and presented at the June 2017 Council meeting.
As members, your input to this important review is welcomed and valued. We have set up an email address for you to post any questions or suggestions regarding the review to the Institute: firstname.lastname@example.org
WHO IS WORKING ON THE REVIEW?
A committee has been formed, chaired by Daniel Smith (past President), with members including: Jenny Lyon (Senior Vice President), Gae Robinson (Convenor, Education Council Committee), Hoa Bui (Councillor), Chao Qiao (Councillor), David Bell (CEO) and Sarah Tedesco (COO). For the committee’s terms of reference, please click here. We have also engaged an external consultant to work with us -David Bowser from Curio Advisory. David specialises in strategy, marketing, product development and organisational change engagements in education institutions and has worked with a number of large Australian universities and professional associations.
ABOUT OUR EDUCATION PROGRAM
The actuarial qualification education program in Australia is made up of three parts and can take some time to complete, but it also provides an opportunity for students to build their skills and knowledge of mathematical models, financial theory, economics and the legislation and regulation that underpin the high standards of actuarial practice. Furthermore, at a Part III level, it focuses on applying theoretical skills and using judgement in a business context.
At present, Part I of the education program is delivered by accredited universities or through distance study via the UK Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (‘IFoA’). Part II is delivered via accredited universities and Part III is delivered by the Institute in two semesters each calendar year through the contribution of members acting as education volunteers.
PAST EDUCATION REVIEWS
This review will be different to recent reviews, as it will involve the full education program (Parts I-III) and look at both the content of the program and the business model behind it. Furthermore, it will also be supported by an external consultant, providing an objective view.
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