Uni mergers: opposed in WA but in SA the premier is pleased

Catherine Moore of the WA branch of the National Tertiary Education Union says the state government’s inquiry into the public university system is, “mistimed, misdirected and lacks transparency”

Premier McGowan has commissioned a review of “structural change” (it more than likely means “merger”) of the four public universities  and how it “could strengthen the local university sector and delivery for students.”

To which Dr Moore responds that any form of merger to create a “super-institution” is “at best, naive.”

“It’s hard to see how any merger or amalgamation proposal could exist without mass job losses,” she adds.

The four vice chancellors might not agree with Dr Moore that what needs reviewing is, “governance including budget mismanagement and how high-paid, plum jobs are handed out to senior executives.” But three of them responded to the review with support for the status quo and probably would not be unhappy if the premier accepted Dr Moore’s suggestion that he “rule out examining merging the state’s universities as a result of the review.”

The fourth VC, UWA’s Amit Chakma welcomed the review, “in the interests of maximising education opportunities and the integral knowledge, expertise and research-driven contribution that our universities,”  (CMM February 24).

In SA the premier likes the idea of combining unis

On Friday Mr Malinauskas issued, for no apparent reason, an announcement headed, “we are at a defining moment in South Australia’s history,” perhaps the Churchill pills kicked in.

Among other things that define the moment, the premier stated “we are implementing our comprehensive plan for education – from three-year-old pre-school through to technical colleges, fee-free TAFE courses and a nation-leading combined university.”

Late last year Peter Høj (Uni Adelaide) and David Lloyd (Uni SA) committed to a  creating a proposal to merge their two institutions in six months (CMM December 8 and 9). Sounds like the premier thinks they already have.