Give us universities’ unused teaching grants, private sector says

Amid yawning teacher shortages and one-sided funding regime, colleges warn that their successful model of localised training faces collapse

十二月 17, 2023
School children marching on Anzac Day in Charters Towers, Queensland, Australia
Source: iStock

Independent colleges have asked Australia’s government to give them surplus education degree subsidies, warning that an alternative approach to teacher training – which has boosted student numbers amid declining commencements at universities – faces collapse.

statement from 30 colleges, schools and representative bodies calls on Canberra to reallocate unused commonwealth supported places (CSPs) to support “innovative” teacher training programmes in faith-based tertiary institutions.

The statement says the programmes address many of the problems plaguing school education, such as escalating teacher shortages and inadequate preparation for classrooms that are “amongst the world’s most disorderly”, according to a Senate inquiry

The programmes have managed to increase their cohorts by as much as 20 per cent a year for over a decade, the statement says. Fresh education enrolments at universities have been declining since 2017, data suggests. 

Under the “clinical hub” model of teacher training, tertiary colleges work with clusters of schools in broadly similar regions. The schools recruit students locally, pay half their fees and guarantee them a day or two a week of paid internships – giving them far more practical experience than many university courses, where about 20 to 30 days a year of classroom time is mandated. 

The approach familiarises students with the sorts of schools where most ultimately obtain employment, unlike more generic university courses which give students relatively short teaching blocks in varied placements.

Advocates say the approach has proven popular with both schools and students, even though annual fees are around quadruple the A$4,124 (£2,177) currently charged at public universities, where course costs are largely covered by CSPs worth A$13,836 per student.

Independent colleges say hundreds of millions of dollars in CSPs are “wasted” every year, because up to half of students drop out of their courses and between one-quarter and one-half of education graduates leave the profession within five years

Clinical hub programmes have retention rates of around 85 per cent and about 95 per cent of graduates remain in the workforce, according to one of the model’s architects, David Hastie.

He said that while the approach was “not for everyone”, it suited many students. Over 100 schools had joined the scheme because they were “frantic” about staff supply, said Dr Hastie, deputy vice president at Alphacrucis University College.

But he said the model faced unsustainability, partly because of state government rules around how schools could spend money. Last year’s one-off allocation of 20,000 extra higher education places, some of which had gone to independent colleges, had complicated matters because it left subsidised students studying alongside full fee-payers.

Dr Hastie said there were “tranches of unused CSPs” in university education programmes, and Canberra should reallocate them to colleges that could use them. “If the government’s serious about making significant teacher education reform, then it needs to back those who are doing significant teacher education reform. That’s us, so back us,” he said.

The Department of Education did not say whether it could or would consider reallocating CSPs. A spokeswoman said that under the Higher Education Continuity Guarantee, which had been extended until 2025, universities were entitled to retain unused teaching grants.

Dr Hastie said that apart from the extra places handed out in 2022, no independent colleges had been awarded CSPs since 2007. “There’s no mechanism…to distribute CSPs. It is literally at the minister’s discretion. And the ministers have not shown discretion.”



  • 注册是免费的,而且十分便捷
  • 注册成功后,您每月可免费阅读3篇文章
  • 订阅我们的邮件
Please 登录 or 注册 to read this article.

Reader's comments (2)

Australian universities are notorious for taking money, never using it, and spending it on themselves by giving themselves a raise in salaries or doing fancy parties all the time. For example, 1.1 million dollar grant, all of it spent by the professors, no real research done or work done. Nothing, they just kept it all and spent it on themselves. Fraud fraud fraud...
Talk about doing research for the sole purpose of getting government funding - "I do this research because the money is here" Australian research funding is another forum of government welfare scheme. Centrelink or research grants, all the same. Australian universities train professors on how to get funding from people and have courses on what to say and how to do it. Ethics go out the door. They've become Salesforce, selling bogus research to industry and government for funding. They are out there on social media and conferences pitching their bogus and often useless research to get more funding from everyone. Do your own research or hire a private think tank.