Market ideologues

May 22, 2014

You have to love the twisted logic of Australia’s conservative government, which remains blindly wedded to the failed idea of marketising higher education (“Tuition fee caps removed in Australian federal budget”, News, www.timeshighereducation.co.uk, 13 May).

“By cutting funding, we’re improving our university system!” they think. Having already wrecked the quality of education by removing student number controls, they stubbornly refuse to acknowledge past failures and push on ahead with their mad plans.

This is ideological, rather than rational or effective. Pray that David Cameron and his ilk learn from their mistakes rather than repeat them. It is worth adding that this whole programme of being “competitive on the world stage” requires universities to open wide their doors to the higher tuition fees paid by foreign students and to reduce their intake of domestic fee-payers. This simultaneously disadvantages the taxpayers who bear the brunt of the higher education system’s overall cost and strengthens the skill base (and thus the economies) of their international competitors. It is the myopic epitome of being penny-wise and pound-foolish.

What is the point of having a “world-leading” university system if you do not use it to the benefit of your nation’s own young people?

Adrian Demos
Via timeshighereducation.co.uk

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