Birmingham addresses private HE providers: no good news but ample understanding

Simon Birmingham, was in frank mode yesterday when he addressed the Council of Private Higher Education. Yes, the Education and Training minister said, their students paid loan fees while those at public universities do not. Yes, private providers, in line with the public sector, will get hit with fees to recover some of regulator TEQSA’s costs. And yes some are worrying they will be singled out under integrity measures (they won’t).

But other than all that Senator Birmingham was all support.

“You understand the need to respond to what students want to learn, the way in which they want to learn, and when they want to learn. You see students as clients who expect value for money, and you’ve been operating with that type of mind frame for many years, hence your growth and success,” he said.

At which point the comparison the minister did not make hung heavy over the audience as he spoke of the public sector’s response to funding increases for Commonwealth Supported Places being contingent on performance measures from 2020, “hardy novel, hardly draconian, hardly shocking.”

“Performance outcomes are the types of things that you are assessed for all of the time by the students who choose to attend your institutions. Many people across the country can’t believe that such performance arrangements weren’t already in place. You’re competing, as I say, in a market where you’re being judged for your performance everyday by discerning students making choices.”

It did not change a thing but it might have cheered people up.


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