The government has set out the performance basis on which it wants to allocate undergraduate growth places from 2020 (CMM January 14).
The Innovative Research Universities suggests the approach is ill-founded and urges a return to demand driven funding saying the, “government should re-set the higher education funding framework announced at the end of 2017 so that universities can provide needed education outcomes (and) remove the cap on Commonwealth Grant Scheme funding for each university.”
The IRU’s submission to the performance funding discussion paper is, as ever, polite and precise but pulls no punches.
The lobby suggests the government wants “direct revenue rewards and punishments to really drive the best results.
“On this approach, the performance information should drive funding which should lead to some universities being better resourced than others. It would mean that students will have more or less resources targeted at them now according to the past actions of their preferred university and of past students’ choices about their future actions and assessment of their teaching. The IRU opposes this outcome.”
The lobby analyses in detail the government’s suggested system-performance measures and suggests that sector-wide benchmarks miss the mark, “due to the differences in student cohorts and the impact of variations in economic conditions for graduate outcomes.”
An alternative, IRU suggests for most quality measures, (is) “a demonstrated minimum acceptable level of performance, (which) is simple to administer and offers greater predictability for universities. It would not have much incentive impact on the basis that most universities would already be above the minimum.”
The lobby also suggests that whatever the government does, “the Act should be amended to set out how the Government intends long-term to set funding.”
Assuming that whoever is education minister after the election continues with the approach inherent in the review.