This report includes the results of our 2018–19 financial audits of education entities, including the Department of Education; the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training; TAFE Queensland; seven public universities; and eight grammar schools.
Future challenges and emerging risks
The COVID-19 global pandemic is expected to have a significant impact on the education sector. Universities finalised their 2019 financial statements in late February 2020. At this time, three universities disclosed travel bans from China would impact their revenue in 2020. Ongoing restrictions on international student travel and social distancing requirements saw universities move to online learning for Semester One. They are now focusing cost management to ensure they continue to be a going concern beyond 2020.
The Department of Education is providing remote learning to most students for part of Term Two. It has a more stable revenue and student base than other entities in the sector. Its main challenges include changing curriculum content to suit remote learning, investing in digital resources and providing additional support for teachers.
TAFE Queensland had budgeted for a $38.4 million loss in 2020 prior to the impacts of COVID-19, mainly due to lower revenues and increasing staff costs. It will likely be significantly impacted by COVID-19 due to the practical nature of its face-to-face training delivery and restrictions on international student travel.