The curse of the 1970s struck twice yesterday. In talking to The Australian, Kevin Rudd again indulged his nostalgia for Whitlamesque free education, while stopping short of promising to bring it back:
the Opposition Leader says he also feels uneasy that young Australians do not have access to free tertiary education, which he received in the 1970s under Gough Whitlam’s reforms.
But ….Mr Rudd said the need for economic responsibility precluded a return to free education.
Instead, he promised to ease the burden of the Labor-introduced Higher Education Contribution Scheme, which he said was out of control and prevented children from working-class families from going to university.
But as readers of this blog know, that idea has been persistently discredited. Last year there was the Cardak and Ryan paper that showed for their sample (of young people) that nothing mattered except Year 12 results. The cruder postcode indicator used by DEST also shows that the proportion of low SES enrolments has been flat since statistics started being collected in the early 1990s, despite two significant price increases since (and the absolute number is well up).
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