Tehan takes policy charge

Education Minister Dan Tehan is expected to announce a significant enabler of his campus free speech policy and to foreshadow a swap market in undergraduate places

The minister’s Universities Australia conference address today will extend his commitment to universities applying the French model code of free speech, announcing the national student experience survey will now include a question on freedom of expression. “In the marketplace of ideas, no one should have the power to ‘cancel’ the people whose views they do not like. That is why our government wants to understand if all students feel their views are tolerated on campus – and not just those views that are popular,” Mr Tehan’s text states.

The minister is also expected to signal an extension of last year’s announcement that universities will be able to trade some enabling, sub-bachelor and Commonwealth supported postgraduate places (CMM November 4, November 5 2019).

“If we are going to ask the Australian people for more support, it is first incumbent upon us to maximise the value of what we already receive. Look at designated places for example: the government cut red tape and gave you more autonomy to maximise the distribution of your places, and this includes to trade places amongst yourselves.  I want to cut more red tape and give you that same autonomy when it comes to non-designated places.  We expect this will allow you to drive your institutions in distinctive ways that fit your particular missions.”

Mr Tehan will also focus on employment opportunities for graduates.

Pointing to the current Shergold review of senior secondary pathways Mr Tehan says, “by considering the needs of future tertiary students while they are still in school we will better prepare them to succeed and gain the qualifications that they will need to achieve their own ambitions.

On the Noonan review of the Australian Qualifications Framework Mr Tehan singles-out recognition of micro-credentials which, “will encourage more innovative and timely responses to student demand for courses, and employer demand for certain skills

And he reiterates his support for the creation of a new university college group in the Coaldrake review of HE provider categories.