Abbott’s vision: be happy with what you’ve got

Opposition News      |      28 February  2013 Late last year, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott wrote to university vice-chancellors to let them know that Governments shouldn’t promise one thing and then do another.  The Coalition will not over-promise and under-deliver. That's a commitment that a Coalition government will have little trouble trouble meeting.  In his keynote address to the UA Conference,  Abbott virtually told his audience that "there will be no new higher education spending under a government I lead." He did make three specific commitments: creation of “the Rhodes scholarships for our region” already announced by  deputy leader Julie Bishop (which would presumably … [Read more...]

The Main Edition 28 February 2013

No.108 ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Unis launch $5 million public awareness campaign Universities Australia has published its first comprehensive policy manifesto - A Smarter Australia. The manifesto callsfor a “partnership between the university sector and the next government” – of whatever hue - to establish a practical and pragmatic policy framework around five key actions, including increased funding. To back up this policy agenda and encourage wider awareness of higher education. UA has launched a $5 million national campaign, to be funded entirely from dividends earned by a company owned by … [Read more...]

Is easy entry to university a good thing?

Grattan Institute    |     11 February 2013 It has never been easier to get into an Australian university. But not everyone agrees that this is a good thing. Is it a sign of declining standards? Are students making the right choices? Easier university entry reflects a policy change. Until recently, the government kept the supply of university places below student demand. Scarce student places were allocated to university applicants according to academic ability, for school leavers measured by ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank). The practical effect was to largely exclude lower-scoring ATAR applicants from university. Most government caps on public university enrolments have … [Read more...]

Bowen to look again at integration issues


With his predecessor having seemingly gone cold on  improving ”interconnectedness” between the VET and higher education sectors, new tertiary education minister Chris Bowen has signalled his willingness to look at the matter again.  Speaking at the UA conference, Bowen observed that  in the course of  structural adjustment  taking place in the sector, innovative and entrepreneurial approaches to the delivery of higher education are emerging, often involving partnerships with the VET sector to expand access in regional and outer-urban growth corridors. While acknowledging that this is exactly the kind of innovation the Bradley reforms were intended to drive, he needs "to be confident … [Read more...]

New blueprint for international sector

Commonwealth Media Centre    |     27 February 2013 Tertiary education minister Chris Bowen released at the UA Conference a report by the International Education Advisory Council which says that the international sector will rebound with an additional 117,000 international students by 2020 - a 30 % increase on current numbers.  This would contribute about $19 billion to the economy compared to $15 billion today. Bowen pointed to a recent upturn in interest in studying in Australia, with a  27% growth in higher education visas granted to offshore applicants in the six months to December 2012, compared to the same period in 2011. Chaired by businessman and University of Western … [Read more...]

Unis launch $5 million “public awareness” campaign


28 February 2013 At the now traditional National Press Club address associated with the Universities Australia (UA) annual conference, outgoing chair of UA Glyn Davis observed that, at the last federal election, higher education was an afterthought: Liberals, Labor and the Greens alike issued brief policy statements about higher education just days before the poll, long after the horse race overwhelmed any discussion of ideas.  This was desultory and disappointing. We are determined 2013 will be different. In this context, Universities Australia has published its first comprehensive policy manifesto - A Smarter Australia.   The manifesto calls for a “partnership between the university … [Read more...]

The 7 pillars of Coalition HE policy

Opposition News    |    28 February 2013 ...I want to be clear about the principles and policy directions that the Coalition intends to follow should we form a government later this year. First and most important, we will be a stable and consultative government. If we put in place a policy or a programme, we will see it through.  If we have to change it, we will consult beforehand rather than impose it unilaterally and argue about it afterwards. We understand the value of stability and certainty, even to universities. Second, we will encourage Australian universities to protect their academic standing so that students can be confident that their degrees are taken seriously. Third, … [Read more...]