Australian prime minister John Howard has promised to spend A$3 billion (£1.1 billion) over the next five years to raise higher education enrolments, increase research output, build new-economy industries and develop online courses for school students. A A$1 billion loans scheme for 250,000 postgraduate students, and 21,000 new undergraduate places with priority for those undertaking science, information technology and telecommunications courses, are central parts of the package. The announcement was welcomed as a sign that higher education has become a key political issue in an election year.
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