Should unis ignore the government’s peformance funding?

Though the federal government plans to stop telling universities how many students to enrol in which disciplines, its plans for university ‘performance funding’, detailed today, show that the urge to micromanage doesn’t go away, it just shifts to different areas.

There will be new targets for enrolment of low SES students, retention rates, pass rates, overall and teaching satisfaction, students’ self-assessed generic skills, employment and further study outcomes, with warnings of other possible future indicators to replace the more manifestly inadequate on this list. Two of these – a new ‘University Experience Survey’ for first years and wider use of the Graduate Skills Assessment test – would involve additional form filling-in and testing for students.

The targets will be adjusted to the circumstances of each institution, so ‘success’ against the targets is likely to depend as much on the skill of the university negotiators in getting easy targets as anything subsequently done to achieve them.

Though the goals may sound good, this is not necessarily the case. Continue reading “Should unis ignore the government’s peformance funding?”