Contributed by Ugly
This is disgraceful. Malcolm Turnbull and his cronies have decided to slug students even more.
Education minister Simon Birmingham has announced that student fees are going to be increased by 1.8 percent next year and continue to rise till it hits 7.5 percent in 2021. This is part of a “shakeup” that is aimed at making universities even less reliant on government funding.
The effect is that it will raise even more barriers to tertiary education, for those whose parents do not have the wealth to pay. So much for all the talk of lifting the Australian knowledge base and providing opportunities for the younger generation.
Former students now have had to pay back loans (HECS) they had to incur to cover fees that were already too high, as soon as they earned $55,000 a year. They will now have to start paying at $4,000. This is a considerable lifelong burden, when fees can be as high as $75,000. Next year’s price hike will add another $2,000 to $6,000.
It is grossly unfair in human terms.
National Union of Students president Sophie Johnston said: “Students can’t understand why this government continues to force students to pay for their budget … what we are seeing is a reverse Robin Hood – taking from the poor to support the rich.”
On top of the fee rises, tertiary institutions will be hit with 2.5 efficiency dividend. In normal language, they have to either cut costs, or focus more on what brings them market success. This means the quality and range of courses provided is likely to suffer. Those that do not meet the set efficiency standards will have their funding cut in the new arrangement. The plan is to cut $2.8 billion in government funding over the next four years.
To make it even worse, elements of university funding will be contingent on performance in priority areas. This means tying tertiary education more thoroughly to the needs of the private corporate sector sand cutting back on the needs of other sections of the community and society.
Measurement of performance will be moved further from peer review, towards measurement by bean counters, based on the pretence that this can be interpreted by numbers. Performance should have something to do with the effectiveness of passing down of knowledge and the acquirement of new knowledge, factors that cannot be reduced to mere numbers.
There are no ifs about it. Tertiary education in Australia is continuing to head down the privatisation path, by making it increasingly dependent on the market for survival.