Australian Financial Review | 4 March 2013
Fred Hilmer (vice-chancellor of UNSW and chair of the Group of Eight) argues that the university sector is stifled by over-regulation. Despite assurances to the contrary, the establishment of TEQSA has added “a bureaucratic overload to every university, regardless of its history, standing or proven proven quality.”
This overload, he says, creates a “mindset of compliance”, stifling innovation and diversity within the sector. The erosion of university autonomy also threatens, over the longer term, the basic principle of academic freedom.
He says that TEQSA has about six times the budget of its predecessor (Australian Universities Quality Agency), “which is perhaps why it is engaged in about six times the amount of regulation”:
There is a simple answer. Cut TEQSA’s budget and restructure it as a minimum standards compliance agency, focusing on the small number of providers either in the market or about to enter that need to be held to a minimum standard – and redirect the savings to research.