NTEU Media Release: Coalition breaks policy silence on universities to support further concentration of research dollars
The Federal Coalition has broken its silence on higher education policy only to support the concentration of Commonwealth research funding in fewer universities, the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) said on Thursday.
“The policy direction outlined in the speech last night by the Shadow Minister for Education, Christopher Pyne, would have dire implications for our higher education system, particularly for universities in regional and outer suburban areas,” said NTEU President, Jeannie Rea.
“The acid is now on Mr Pyne to show how Coalition policy will not result in research funding being reduced to the majority of Australia’s universities.”
“We agree with Mr Pyne’s emphasis on research excellence and the need for Australia’s universities to be globally competitive.”
“But Robert Menzies, whose tradition Mr Pyne claims to be emulating, would be turning in his grave at the thought our universities would be defined only by their position in international rankings.”
These rankings are based on a very narrow set of performance indicators rather than their capacity to create and spread knowledge.”
“Mr Pyne is completely ignoring the breadth of research taking place in our universities and the vital role this plays in industry and communities across Australia.”
“After a decade of real cuts in public investment, universities are reaching breaking point.”
“So far, there is nothing in what the Coalition is saying that addresses any of the very real issues arising from this situation for university staff and students. This includes growing student to staff ratios, the fact that more teaching is being carried out by casual staff and the mounting dependence of the system on international student income.”
“All Mr Pyne appears to be promising is a further reliance on costly, bureaucratically complex and ultimately highly subjective university rankings.”
For further information and comment:
Jeannie Rea, NTEU President: 0434 609 531
Andrew Nette, NTEU National Media Officer: 0431 217 131