The Australian Government has urged more funding to save public universities: Report

The new report calls on the federal government to increase funding for higher education so that universities can recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and receive free undergraduate education for students in the country.

In the latest report (pdf), The Canberra-based public policy think tank, the Australian Institute, said the government could save public universities by raising higher education funding to 1% of annual GDP. This is in line with the OECD average.

The report said Australian universities suffered a significant loss of income after the country closed its borders due to a pandemic, preventing international students from coming to Australia.

He added that, unlike other companies, universities are not eligible for JobKeeper wage subsidies.

As a result, total university revenues in 2020 fell by $ 1.9 billion ($ 1.39 billion), 40,000 tertiary employees across Australia were unemployed in 12 months, and three-quarters of unemployment occurred at public universities. Did.

The report also found that the country’s public university sector needed urgent changes, and the next federal government was to solve the problems posed by increased university commercialization, reduced funding, and pandemics. Suggested to make further investment.

“Australian universities were hit by a pandemic, but long before COVID arrived, the sector was distorted and damaged by commercialization, casualization and privatization,” said an economist and report author at the Australian Institute. Eliza Littleton said.

“Australia needs an ambitious national vision for higher education, which realigns the sector with the mission of public services and the needs of students, staff and the wider society.”

Investing in higher education will create a stronger economy and improve social mobility and democracy, Littleton said.

Epoch Times Photo
Monash University Faculty of Pharmacy and Faculty of Pharmacy in Melbourne, Australia. (Wikimedia Commons)

Meanwhile, the report states that direct public funding for higher education related to economic scale has declined since the mid-1980s and is now 0.65% of Australia’s GDP, below the OECD average of 0.94%. I am.

“In a normal business scenario, higher education will be further dominated by corporate priorities and cost savings,” says Littleton.

“If the government makes different choices, a better, more democratic future for this important public service is possible.”

However, Glenn Fahei, director of the education program at the Sydney-based Independent Research Center, said using GDP as a barometer of how much money was spent on education is a flawed measurement. Funding said that what should be used instead is per student.

“And when we do, Australia’s funding at all levels of education, including higher education, is that Australian students are funded far more per student than in other countries of the world. I see, “he said in a comment made by the Epoch Times.

In addition, he said the amount of money was not a good prediction of how good the quality of education was.

This is because Australia’s higher education funding shows that funding has increased, but student satisfaction with student courses and graduate grades has declined, Fahey explained.

“Simply increasing funding is unlikely to improve the performance of Australian students and universities,” he said.

Meanwhile, the report also provided many recommendations for revitalizing Australia’s higher education sector. These include free undergraduate education for domestic students, ample public funding for universities, fully funded research, safe employment measures, deputy prime minister salary caps, and data collection.

It is estimated that Australian taxpayers will have to bear an additional $ 6.9 billion if the government implements the above recommendations. This figure represents less than 1 percent of the country’s GDP.

On the issue of providing free undergraduate education for Australians, Fahey says that few students in the country are banned from college, and free undergraduate qualifications improve student performance. He said it was unlikely to affect him.

“Today there is little evidence of accessibility issues to higher education. Our problem is that students are not well prepared for college,” he said.

“And what the Productivity Commission survey shows is that further improving access to higher education involves students who would otherwise not be able to earn an undergraduate degree.

“They are much more likely to drop out. They take much longer to get a degree and miss out on opportunities from the workforce for years.”

Alfred buoy


Alfred Bui is a Melbourne-based Australian reporter with a focus on local and business news. He is a former small business owner and holds two master’s degrees in business and business law. Contact him at [email protected]