Photo: Adam Bailey, Geoscience Australia
Earth scientists are on the skilled occupation list for immigration even as universities cut back in this area. The problem lies with a funding model that offers no incentive to lift graduate numbers.
Robert Menzies established a ‘buffer body’ between government and universities.
Liberal Prime Minister Robert Menzies insisted universities should have protection from political interference. But Bob Hawke’s education minister John Dawkins dismantled these protections.
Tight funding and COVID-related limits on face-to-face contact have forced academics to find other ways to expose students to the real-life work they are preparing them for.
The Job-Ready Graduates policy aims to remove ‘the misalignment between the cost of teaching a degree and the revenue that a university receives to teach it’. But new research challenges its costings.
Many Australian students specialise before they’ve had a good general education. American undergraduates do get that, and perhaps Australia has gone too far down the path of early specialisation.
The budget splashed out extra money for almost every sector deemed important to economic recovery (or politically sensitive). But with universities in a state of financial crisis, they missed out.
Tuesday’s budget shows a reversion back to the previous policy of keeping total higher education funding broadly stable.
Dancers from Bangarra perform at the reopened Australian Museum in November.
Lisa Maree Williams, Getty/PR handout
Lockdowns, job loss and university courses struck down: 2020 was a difficult year for Australia’s artists. But there was light through the darkness.
The way in which Australians think about leadership in the education sector has changed throughout the pandemic. It’s seen as a public good, with ethics and accountability gaining in importance.
Now that Dan Tehan has steered the package through the parliament, the government and higher education sector will have to live with the consequences.
Three key policy errors in the legislation mean the Morrison government is unlikely to achieve the stated goals of its package.
Out of the crises of the 1890s and 1940s Australia created quality, enduring legacies in post-school education. We now have a chance to upgrade these legacies to aid economic and social renewal.
Demand is high for teachers with expertise in STEM subjects like maths. But students also deserve expert English, history, civics or geography teachers. Maybe your favourite teacher did an arts degree.
The early and mid-career researchers who bear most of the teaching and research workload are exhausted and underpaid. Many won’t survive the funding squeeze, but Australia can’t afford to lose them.
Students who fail units are highly likely to fail again without targeted assistance. But when universities intervene early to support these students, their rate of failure has been nearly halved.
Although the government has identified a real problem, its heavy-handed regulation would create unnecessary red tape for universities and exclude students who should get a second chance.
Doubling the cost of degrees in the humanities and social sciences has a disproportionate impact on women because they account for two-thirds of the students.
More than 70 of Australia’s Laureate professors have signed a letter to the minister for education, Dan Tehan, outlining the flaws in the proposed university reforms.
From December 2017 (when the government put a cap on demand-driven funding) to 2024 (when the Job-ready graduates package is fully implemented) — the government will save nearly A$1 billion annually.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison stands next to a photograph of Sir Robert Menzies.
Developments in the 80s set the parameters for much of the political discourse around the humanities since.
Experts predict today’s graduates will have several different careers throughout their working life. The government’s university changes seem ignorant of this.