Another trimester debate set to start

Uni Newcastle is considering moving to trimesters. Campus critics say it is a bad idea

The university has put the possibility of an extended academic year on the agenda for the new strategic plan. (Interim) DVC A Liz Burd says the university uses a trimester for some courses now but extending the system will let undergraduates use the summer for credit-earning activities, such as work placements and international exchanges.

Opponents of the idea warn students seeking work-based learning would flood already over-supplied markets. And, as at UNSW, which has moved to a trimester system there are complaints, that it will mean no appropriate break for academics from teaching, and increase pressure on staff administering admissions, enrolments and exam results.

If university leaders are to be swayed from the idea the time to sway them is now. UNSW’s refusal to budge in the face of student protests over its new trimester system demonstrates that once in place, they stay.


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