National Day of Action on higher education: Tuesday 20 August
The NTEU is joining forces with the National Union of Students (NUS) and the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) for a National Day of Action on Tuesday 20 August to champion the cause of publicly-funded and properly-funded higher education in the lead-up to the Federal election.
Rallies are being organised in key centres with more events on campuses on Tuesday: http://www.nteu.org.au/events/national_day_of_action
NTEU members at 10 universities are taking industrial action tomorrow as enterprise bargaining negotiations break down over key issues including workloads and job security.
“Higher education in Australia stands at a tipping point. Over the past three years, the Labor Government has slashed over $4 billion from higher education with the complicity of the Coalition,” Jeannie Rea, National President of the NTEU said.
“This cannot go on. Properly funded universities and properly supported students are essential for a smart future for Australia.”
Rea said the NTEU, NUS and CAPA were also calling on the school and TAFE teachers and students, parents, employers, unionists and other members of the community to join the campaign to make education, including higher education, a big issue in this year’s federal election.
“When we call for education for all – we mean from early childhood to higher degrees. Higher education should be available regardless of background or circumstance, but the costs of education keep increasing,” Rea said.
Rea said that the Labor Government’s so-called $2.3 billion ‘efficiency dividend’ in April was already leading to staff job losses, course cuts, more crowded classes, and less help for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“The replacement of the Student Start-up Scholarships with a loan will add to the unreasonable debt many students already face upon graduation. The Coalition pledged to support these cuts and is looking to students to pay for the funding gap like they did the last time they were in power.”
NUS President Jade Tyrell, said that students in universities and TAFEs across the country feel sidelined and are devastated by the cuts announced earlier this year.
“Funding for higher education has now become an election issue, and we need our politicians to fight harder and find the funds for a desperately needed increase. Without an injection of more funds, the quality of our education will suffer and we are concerned the solution to make up the shortfall will be more student debt, particularly if the Coalition wins government,” she said.
CAPA President, Meghan Hopper, said the cuts were a blow to postgraduate students.
"As we have already seen through data released by Universities Australia, the impact of these cuts is highest on postgraduate students – full fee postgraduate student numbers could drop by up to 30 per cent in the next four years. We're now in an environment where you need a postgraduate degree to qualify for any number of careers, but only the most wealthy can afford it," she said.
Media Comment: Jeannie Rea, NTEU National President: 0434 609 531; email@example.com;
Jade Tyrell, President, National Union of Students: 0411 606 808; firstname.lastname@example.org;
Meghan Hopper, President, Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations: 0421 807 303; email@example.com;
More info: Carmel Shute NTEU Media Officer: 03 9254 1910; 0412 569 356 firstname.lastname@example.org
The National Tertiary Education Union covers all employees of universities, including general staff such as librarians, gardeners, technical specialists and administrative staff, and academics. It is incorrect to characterise NTEU’s members as “academics” or the NTEU as “the academics’ union”.
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