Invest In Universities
A letter to all NTEU members.
The Federal Minister for Higher Education, Senator Chris Evans recently admitted that there will be no increase in base funding for universities in this year’s Budget.
This is despite recommendations that additional funding is necessary from the recent Base Funding Review, chaired by Jane Lomax-Smith, and the earlier Bradley Review (2009). Base funding per student is composed of the Commonwealth grant plus a student’s HECS contributions.
From the Minister’s comments, it is not clear that any additional funding is ever likely to result from the year-long inquiry into base funding. Senator Evans’s comments were made at a Senate Estimates hearing last week (Ref: Hansard, Senate Economics Legislation Committee, Estimates, 15 Feb 2012, pp. 71-72).
Staff in the sector are now coping with higher levels of student enrolments without any increase to the level of base funding per student. This can only exacerbate existing problems of overcrowded classrooms and overworked staff.
There are a number of things that you can do to help show the Minister how serious the situation has become, as part of NTEU’s Invest in Australia’s Future Campaign for increased public funding for higher education:
1/ Take a photo of a crowded lecture theatre or classroom and email it to the NTEU (to firstname.lastname@example.org). The union will promote a similar Twitter activity later this week to students and other Twitter followers using #investInunis. If you are also willing to invite a journalist into your lecture theatre, let us know.
2/ Inform students in your classrooms about funding for the sector. A brief PowerPoint outlining the issues can be found at the following link: http://www.investinuniversities.org.au/resources/powerpoint
3/ Send an email to Senator Evans and your local MP through the NTEU’s campaign website: http://www.investinuniversities.org.au/action/email_mp
4/ Visit your local MP using the information provided on the NTEU’s campaign website:
5/ Follow the NTEUNational on Facebook and Twitter (#investinunis) for campaign updates.
Notwithstanding the current distractions in Canberra, we should all play our part if we are going to make them hear us.