Much of Australia’s higher education sector feels left behind in the 2021-22 budget after a tough fiscal year when international student income declines.
Treasury Secretary Josh Frydenberg announced $ 19 billion ($ 14.8 billion) in funding the university in a budget speech to Congress on Tuesday night.
Measures include creating new employment channels for students, funding scholarships for women in STEM programs, and supporting international science and technology cooperation.
Over $ 216 million will also be used to set up additional nursing scholarships to grow and improve the elderly care workforce.
The federal government also plans to provide approximately $ 30,000 (US $ 23,500) per doctoral graduate of industry-academia collaboration to promote greater industry-academia collaboration under research and training programs.
However, the Australian University, the largest trade association in the sector, said the federal assumption that the borders remained closed poses “a very serious challenge” for the university.
“Until mid-2022, the border area assumptions were closed and are now included in the budget, which will make the situation at the university even worse,” said Australian CEO. Catriona Jackson said.. “The sector recorded a $ 1.8 billion revenue hit last year. Australian universities conservatively estimate that at least another $ 2 billion will be lost this year against actual operating revenue in 2019. “
However, the university was pleased that the budget assumptions included a pilot program for international students and warmly welcomed an additional $ 1 billion for university research.
“Boost acknowledged the centrality of research into the country’s recovery, which saved work and research capacity,” Jackson said. “This sector will continue to work with the government on long-term plans for research sustainability.”
The Group of Eight (Go8), which represents Australia’s most research-intensive universities, praised the government’s commitment to ensuring a country’s economic recovery, but “one hand is behind” in supporting constructive budgets. I was tied up with. “
“After the budget, the government needs to consider how to best support the university sector when we support the country,” Go8 CEO Vicki Thomson said in a statement. I am. “Current systems cannot achieve this.”
“Our biggest challenge remains, which is to enable us to continue world-class research, especially through research related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Regional University Network (RUN) felt that their network was also “mostly ignored” by the budget, but welcomed innovation funding, research training programs for women in STEM programs, and doctoral students. He said he did.
“Regional universities are the anchor institutions in the region and make a fundamental contribution to the local economy,” said RUN Chair Nick Cromp. “Government needs to help establish innovation districts on local university campuses.”
The Australian University Technology Network (ATN) says the budget has played an important role in providing the economy with a highly skilled workforce, while believing that the budget has “missed an opportunity” for the university. ..
“ATN is disappointed that the government has not been built on the successful investment in short-term courses offered by innovative, industry-linked universities,” said ATN Chair. Ian Martin said.. “We acknowledge that these short courses meet significant potential demand and hope that the government will revisit this.”
Education unions call the budget a failure of public education
Meanwhile, Australian education unions call the 2021 budget a failure for public schools and TAFE staff and students.
“Overall primary, secondary and TAFE, this federal budget causes students to fail in every corner of our country,” said AEU President. Korena Haythorpe said..
Haythorpe argued that public schools are facing a $ 19 billion shortage of funds over the next four years as a direct result of the government’s “not giving top priority to public education.”
“The Morrison government is funding millions of dollars of taxpayers to poor private universities and employment networks at the expense of TAFE,” said Haythorpe.
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) said the government has “further hit” education, the country’s fourth-largest export industry, with this year’s budget.
“If this government is serious about investing in skills, education and training to tackle unemployment, it will invest more in higher education than in just 5,000 short course locations,” said NTEU President. Allison Burns said, See support packages for non-university higher education institutions.
“Instead, there is a small budget for higher education from the government that has abandoned Australian university workers and students,” Burns said.
Minister of Education Alan Tudge answered Criticism of spending by pointing out in a media release that the budget will provide Australian schools with a record $ 24.4 billion in government spending from 2021 to 2010.
The government will also provide $ 481.2 million to reform and expand Transition to Work, a youth employment service program, to help underprivileged youth move from school to work.
“We support young Australians through their learning journeys through our funding across early childhood and care, schools and higher education,” said Tudge.
“We give Australians the best opportunity to reach their full potential and acquire the skills and qualifications they need to get a job now and in the long run.”