Follow-up: University Funding

Chairs in empty classroom

Back on this topic again: Previous posts are here and there. Well, if I'm going to write about it, I might as well follow-up with its developments, right? Earlier today, Ruben retweeted this link about over a thousand Australian professors signing an open letter asking Gillard to abandon the university funding cuts that were published in 18 newspapers.

I don't consider this so much a political problem, so I don't take this perspective. But being a product of successive years of Australian schooling, I have much concern with the system as it is, whether it's education for primary or secondary levels or higher education. Rankings may mean little in the long run, but they are still indicative of a quality of learning I value - it's not important to be the best, but it is important to give schools the opportunity to give students a quality education, on all levels. Disagree if you must.

Then again, considering what our university fees go to (that big hole in the ground), I would question what our universities are planning, although my former manager at HP tells me what a great investment UTS is putting into post-graduate business in building their new melting-cheese building. I guess time will tell...

Within the open letter published today:

“Universities have made by far and away the largest saving contributions of any Federal Budget line item. We feel betrayed and taken for granted. Our universities are central to Australia’s economic and social future.”

“For nearly two decades Governments have demanded that university staff do more with less, while massively increasing Government intrusion into teaching and research practices. This cannot continue. We urge you to reverse these cuts.”

I'm not pleased to hear that Barry O'Farrell has been the first premier to sign up NSW for the Gonski reforms on 23 April though. He may be 'delighted', but I am much less than. Gillard is on a deadline to get the premiers of every state to agree to sign up with her new reform, I wonder how this will pan out, given today's events? I'm surprised at some approval from staff of several universities...

Uni cuts, dumb cuts. From NTEU.

Also today, National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) had an article generally about Higher Education in the Media, pointing out further criticisms of the government in the way they have handled their funding towards vocational and training colleges, questions the information the government has put forward and provides their own analysis of the consequences of these funding cuts.

The NTEU does not question the need for increased public investment in our schools and supports the Government’s decision to implement the recommendations of the Gonski review.

The NTEU does, however, question the logic of cutting university funding to help pay for these reforms, especially when this directly contradicts the findings of their own independent reviews of higher education.