Unis Aus propose a price for cooperating with government

Universities Australia responds yesterday to Dan Tehan’s proposal, “if you deliver we will deliver” with an implied offer of its own

On Tuesday Education Minister Tehan urged universities to work with the government (CMM yesterday) and yesterday Universities Australia carefully replied. In the text of a speech for an AFR conference, Universities Australia’s Catriona Jackson said, “if we are to rise to the minister’s challenge of yesterday, and play our proper part in growth and productivity, the funding models must accommodate that.”

Ms Jackson stuck to UA’s post-election line, that growth next decade in the school leaver population will mean more demand for undergraduate places. “There will be 55,000 more 18-year-olds than there are today. On current policy settings, we will not have places to offer these budding students. Even with the performance-based funding we will still be going backwards,” she said.

However, Ms Jackson also signalled universities will work with the training system in providing post-school pathways, “we need two strong systems – universities and vocational education – working side by side.” And with two major government reviews looking at post-school qualifications and which categories of institutions can provide, she also accepted sector-boundaries will be fluid, “in the future an overwhelming majority of Australians will need some form of post-school education – university, VET or a bit of both, to enter and remain in the workforce.”

In the past, some university advocates argued higher education should pay no price to help the entirely separate training system – times have changed.


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