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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

It's official folks « Previous | |Next »
November 16, 2005

This little news item is very significant. It discloses the aim of Brendan Nelson's reforms: the privatisation of the public university.

The news report in The Age says:

The death of the Australian university as a public institution can now be officially recorded. It occurred just after midday yesterday, during a news conference by Melbourne University vice-chancellor Glyn Davis. Unveiling his ambitious 10-year plan for Melbourne, Professor Davis noted that the document, Growing Esteem, referred to the 150-year-old university as a "publicly spirited"---rather than public---- institution. Over the past 25 years, guaranteed federal funding has dropped from about 90 per cent of the university's revenue to 23 per cent
Davis is spot on when he says that Melbourne University cannot be called a public university when only 23 per cent of its is directly guaranteed by the Federal Government. This university is shifting towards generic undergraduate courses and graduate schools for professional training.

This move into graduate entry for medicine, nursing and allied health is starting taking place across the university system. It is the American two tiered model and this form of the shift towards specialization is designed to align Australia's universities with the international American ones. Universities in Europe are already shifting to a two tiered structure.

The ALP's response has been to defend the public liberal university of yesterday and to highligh how the changes favour a privileged few. However, more deregulation is on the cards and with increasing diversity only some universities will be primarily public--- probably the under-resourced, lower status gumtree ones built in the 1960s. In a market society that means they will gradually become second tier universities because not every university needs to be doing research, teaching and scholarship across all areas. Many cannot afford to do this and so they will offer teaching not research.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:00 AM | | Comments (2)


Isnt the federal government still micromanaging the universities anyway, despite the universities being able to find funding outside of federal funds? So basically we get the absolute worst possible outcome with government central planning over-riding universities which by all rights, under privitisation, should be responding to the market - not governments management?

we sure do. An example.