Jeannie Rea spells out opposition to Parker plan for HE reform

Stephen Parker’s proposals for a singe post-school education system are not being widely debated (CMM Tuesday). Without a bucket of new public money they would require a transfer of funds from universities to VET and various HE lobbies do not want to even acknowledge such a thing is possible.

There are also a range of regulatory proposals in Parker, which the higher education community would not like, as spelt out by Jeannie Rea, outgoing president of the National Tertiary Education Union yesterday.

While the union likes the plan’s primary proposal for “a more unified regulatory and funding framework” for HE and VET, Ms Rea warns against the Parker report being interpreted as “recommending that universities are just another provider in a competitive tertiary education market.” And she flat-out rejects demand driven funding across the whole post-school system, arguing the VET FEE HELP disaster, “prove(s) education is far too important to leave to the market.”

The union also opposes extending income contingent loans to all courses, “from the students’ point of view, this means years and years of accumulated debt and complex repayment schedules as they move in and out of paid work and retraining, as governments run down funding.”

As for linking performance metrics  for teaching to funding, the union, “is dubious.” “Adequate ongoing funding to employ teaching staff in decent jobs would make all the difference.”


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