Divided we fall: federal government pits universities against students
Written by Dr Tim Pitman and Paul Koshy (NCSEHE) for The Conversation
The principle of divide et impera (divide and conquer) has been a political staple for centuries and the Commission of Audit’s recommendations regarding higher education are a salient example. Both universities and student bodies are concerned at the sector’s fiscal situation since cuts made by the previous government.
In response, the commission recommends further reducing the average government per-student contribution, increasing the student’s own contribution and opening the door to fee deregulation. The result is to divide the universities’ interests from those of their students. As Glyn Davis, the Vice-Chancellor of Melbourne University, observed last week, “Do public universities walk away from all other options because students will not like the alternatives?”
On the face of it, universities can look to students to provide the funding the federal government says it cannot, or continue to suffer a death from a thousand cuts.