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Institutional differentiation in Australian higher education

15 May 2017 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… There is general consensus in the higher education literature that institutional differentiation is desirable (Meek et al, 1996; van Vught 2007). More diverse systems tend to perform better because they meet diverse student needs, are better equipped to stimulate social mobility through different access points and progression pathways, are better linked to labour markets that increasingly require different types of graduates, and allow for more cost-effective delivery of both education and research through specialisation. Concerns about the capacity of the Australian Unified National System to lead to diversity have been raised since it … [Read more...]

Resourcing Australia’s tertiary education sector

LH Martin Institute Australian Government expenditure on tertiary education has been consistently at 0.8% of GDP since 2000. There has not been a ‘blowout’ in tertiary education spending. If there is a problem, it is simply that the Government needs to bring the Budget back into balance. The contribution that can be made to that objective from the tertiary education sector is at best modest, writes Mark Warburton. While direct expenditure on higher education student places under the Commonwealth Grant Scheme (CGS) has increased considerably since 2008, this has been substantially offset since 2011 by 13 major savings measures which have reduced spending in other programs of support for … [Read more...]

Can we really afford to not invest more in education?

28 June 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… The Australian newspaper has been running a none too sophisticated campaign against the boost in education spending of $37 billion over the next decade promised by Labor. It’s a mish mash of half-truths and contortions of logic, as is often the case when The Australian goes politically feral. …………………………………………………………………………………….......…… Labor has drawn on an OECD report, Universal Basic Skills, to supports its argument that increased spending on education not only contributes to equity and social inclusion but is an investment in future improvements in productivity (and, indeed, Malcolm Turnbull’s Ideas Boom).  It's a proposition with … [Read more...]

Higher education gets short shrift in the election campaign

28 June 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… Stephen Parker, the soon to retire vice-chancellor of the University of Canberra, was an implacable opponent of the  Coalition's university deregulation package.  But from being a red hot issue during most of the last term of Parliament, higher education has hardly figured in the election campaign.  The Coalition has slipped the electorate a mogadon and seemingly gotten away with it.  The mogadon will wear of after the election, should the Coalition returned. …………………………………………………………………………………….......…… Higher education policy during the Abbott government was highly controversial and probably a component of Tony Abbott’s … [Read more...]

Private schools “arms race”

Fairfax Media    |  26 June 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… Private schools are outspending Victorian public schools by four to one, splurging on rowing tanks, pilates studios, sky decks and imaginariums. …………………………………………………………………………………….......…… Some top private schools have spent up to $70 million on capital projects over the past few years as part of a facilities "arms race" to lure students. The state's biggest spender, Carey Baptist Grammar School, shelled out about $11.4 million in 2014 on a new "learning and innovation" centre at its Kew campus. The $23 million building features an "audiovisual Imaginarium" with 3D technology and a "United Nations Room" with … [Read more...]

The Greens Tertiary Education Policy

Higher education Building a sustainable university sector The Greens say they are committed to boosting funding to the university sector by $8.3 billion over four years so it can provide high quality and affordable higher education and training. To help provide world-class teaching and research opportunities in universities, the Greens will:  Invest $7 billion to reverse the Coalition’s  cuts and fund a 10% increase in base funding per student at public universities; and  Invest $1.306 billion into research to reverse Government cuts to our most successful university research. Supporting university students The Greens propose to oppose higher fees for students by: reducing … [Read more...]

Great 8 propose caps on enrolments

Fairfax Media    |  15 June 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… The elite Group of Eight universities have proposed that the Commonwealth government reintroduce limits on how many students each university can enrol, a suggestion slammed by other vice-chancellors as "cancerous" and "selfish". …………………………………………………………………………………….......……   The Group has released a paper calling for a "moderation" of the demand-driven system that allows universities to enrol as many students as they want. Group of Eight chair Michael Spence said the uncapping of university places in from 2009-21012 had blown out the budget by billions of dollars while leaving important university … [Read more...]

TDA: Election 2016 – Statements

……………………………………………………………………………………………………… TAFE Directors Australia (TDA - the body representing Australia's public TAFE institutes) has issued a series of policy position papers that have been developed to steer the direction of policy affecting TAFE and the VET sector.  Policy Paper 1 – TAFE: a national asset for Australia’s economic and social prosperity Policy Paper 2 - Quality is the hallmark of a well-regulated VET system Policy Paper 3 – Rural and remote vocational education and training relies on TAFE Policy Paper 4 – Ending discrimination in Australia’s tertiary education system Policy Paper 5 – Why a national industry policy & innovation and STEM … [Read more...]

The Scan #179 5 May 2016

A few cuts, no frills 4 May 2016   |   The government has pushed consideration of proposed university reforms, including a 20% cut in funding, out beyond the election, until 1 January 2018.  While it has ruled out full fee deregulation, it has released an options paper, to guide a consultation process, canvassing a range of alternative fee measures which would still see substantial fee rises.  The 2016 Budget also sees an efficiency dividend of $1.2 billion on legislated dropped but the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program has been cut by $152 million to $553 million over four years.  The Office of Learning and Teaching has been abolished, with the resulting $18 million in … [Read more...]

Running, jumping, standing still

The Conversation     |    4 May 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… What now? asks Gavin Moodie (RMIT) in The Conversation. While across-the-board full fee deregulation has now been dumped by the Coalition, fee deregulation of so-called "flagship courses", first mooted in the Review of Base Funding in 2011 (with the significant qualification that such fees be capped at plus 50% above what they would otherwise be), looks a hot prospect for a  re-elected Coalition government  (as does a raising of the cap on other courses by some percentage). That is, of course, still moot: an incoming Labor government would be ostensibly committed to additional public investment in higher … [Read more...]