Damages done by degree inflation and what to do about them

“Australian universities demean and debase themselves by defining their purpose as issuing employment credentials for employers. They are much more important than that,” Steven Schwartz argues in a new paper for the Centre for Independent Studies

The thrice VC (Brunel U, Macquarie U and Murdoch U) argues that the growth of graduate numbers allows employers to require degrees for jobs that do not require them. An end to “degree inflation,” he argues, would be beneficial; by opening more jobs to more people and increasing the value of other education and training.

He makes the case as a foundation for proposals to the O’Kane Accord, “designed to improve social mobility, make university funding fairer and (with some luck) restore the status and standing of higher education,” including;

* drop degree requirements for jobs: (except where required for professional registration). Governments should lead and business will follow. “Employment decisions should be based on capability and experience, not on irrelevant credentials, sex or family background.”

* raise standing of voced: both HE and VET providers should offer the others’ programmes

* charge interest rate on student loans, “allowing the government to make more generous loans to those who need them and rebalance the risk of non-repayment from taxpayers to graduates

* teaching not research for most academics: “we cannot expect to find a world-beating genius standing in front of every lecture theatre”