Birmingham kapows unis on attrition and employment

Simon Birmingham has slammed universities with high attrition rates, revealed in statistics released this morning. “With more and more students engaging in higher education, our universities and institutions need to take responsibility for the students they choose to enrol and ensure they have the capabilities and support to succeed. … It’s clear some of our universities need to take a close look at their efforts and do more to support the students they enrol with significant taxpayer subsidies,” Senator Birmingham said.

And he kapowed unis in general for “a disconnect between some of the courses universities are offering and the employment market.”

“Our universities should be carefully considering whether their courses are setting students up with the right skills and our students should be trying to find courses that match their passions and offer pathways to fulfilling careers.”

This is much more than a minister miffed with university lobbyists, who convinced enough crossbenchers to block his proposed performance metrics. Rather, Senator Birmingham is speaking to a key opponent of his package, Rebekha Sharkie (NXT- Mayo) who complained about under-employed graduates while opposing tying university funds to student outcomes, calling it a “hunger games” contest.

“It’s results like these that are behind the Turnbull Government’s performance funding policy that would put student outcomes at the centre of learning. By making universities account for their performance and take steps to boost student retention, completion, satisfaction and job outcomes, taxpayers will be able to have confidence that the record funding they are delivering is being used effectively. Our universities shouldn’t be afraid of that scrutiny,” the senator said.


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