A 5/10 budget for undergraduate teaching

The interest groups at last night’s education budget lock-up (I went along representing the U of M) were pretty happy with what they heard. It’s true that with expectations having been managed down for months, what was actually delivered significantly exceeded them, particularly for research, infrastructure and student income support.

But on the core of the system – undergraduate education – the government deserves no more than 5 out of 10.

As announced earlier, they are going to exclude from the demand-driven system the private providers of higher education and the TAFEs offering degrees. While there is a commitment to consult with private providers about their future role, the demand-driven system is not going to deliver its full potential benefits without them being incorporated from the start.

The government has recognised – as per my Issue Analysis paper from February – that it needs to look at the prices received by providers. They are setting up a review to report by 2011. But I think their conceptual framework is mistaken; there is not an appropriate ‘internationally competitive’ funding level, but rather multiple funding levels for different students, courses, and institutions.
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