Dan Tehan reappointed Australian education minister

Reappointed minister vows to work with universities to improve regional schooling

May 26, 2019
Source: Getty

Dan Tehan has been reappointed education minister following the Coalition’s victory in the Australian federal election.

Mr Tehan had been expected to keep his job following remarks made by Prime Minister Scott Morrison several days before the 18 May poll, when Mr Morrison named him among several ministers who would retain their portfolios in the event of a Coalition win.

In a statement welcoming his appointment, Mr Tehan highlighted his plans for schooling and childcare. He also committed to an expansion of the regional study hubs that the government established last year to provide infrastructure for university students studying via distance education, and highlighted the government’s work with universities to improve schooling and boost retention rates in rural areas.

The Regional Universities Network, whose members benefited from two recent redirections of education and research funding under Mr Tehan’s stewardship, “warmly welcomed” his retention of the education portfolio.

Chair Helen Bartlett pressed Mr Tehan to keep her members in mind when he approved the as yet undetermined performance measures universities must meet to qualify for increases in their teaching grants from next year.

“For higher education attainment to grow in regional Australia and increase the number of highly skilled professionals in the regions, regional universities must be able to grow their student numbers,” said Professor Bartlett, vice-chancellor of Federation University Australia. “We urge the government to adopt performance measures…which will assist us in achieving this goal.”

The newly badged Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia said it would press Mr Tehan and his colleagues to reduce “the unnecessary red tape that’s abundant in the tertiary education sector”.

ITECA, which this month changed its name from the Australian Council for Private Education and Training, said the tertiary education system needed restructuring “so that there is greater integration between the higher education, vocational education, training and skills sectors”.

“Students should be able to transition from one sector to the other relatively seamlessly without the challenges of different funding models,” said chief executive Troy Williams.

Karen Andrews has also retained her portfolio responsibilities as minister for industry, science and technology. Michaelia Cash remains as minister for skills, as well as employment and small business, with Steve Irons appointed as assistant minister for vocational education, training and apprenticeships.

john.ross@timeshighereducation.com

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