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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Second-rate status fears

The Mercury: Second-rate status fears [24nov05]

HIGHER education reforms that could reduce the University of Tasmania to a second-rate institution were nonsense, Vice-Chancellor Daryl Le Grew said yesterday.

The plan, proposed yesterday by federal Education Minister Brendan Nelson, would see Australia move to a system similar to the two-tiered approach in the United States.

Students would first attend generalist universities in outer-suburban or regional areas before moving to graduate schools.

Professor Le Grew said this would lead to an elitist system.

"We will fight it tooth and nail," he said.

There is a fair amount of elitism built into all of this."

Students and the Labor Party said regional universities would be left behind and all but students from wealthy homes would be priced out of professions such as medicine and law under the proposal.

They also warned even fewer people would go to university, worsening skills shortages across the economy.

Dr Nelson is backing a blueprint being pushed by a group of institutions, including Melbourne University.

But Prof Le Grew said the plan would pigeon-hole universities.

"How insulting to Tasmania to say `do your under-graduate work here, but then go to Melbourne or Sydney'," he said.

"In my view, it stifles the choice and opportunities for people."

The quality of the University of Tasmania was borne out in its recent win in the Tasmanian Export Awards, Prof Le Grew said.

"That was because we offer high-quality degrees that international students want to come and do," he said.

The new model could also affect the uni's ability to attract international students.

"It is important for us to get our graduates out there with a toehold in the world to start their careers," Prof Le Grew said.

Federal opposition employment spokeswoman Jenny Macklin said the proposals would lead to a flood of full-fee courses and Australian students would find themselves priced out of elite centres of study.

She said Australia already had more than 60 degrees which cost $100,000 or more.


At 9:08 PM, November 24, 2005, Blogger randomwalker said...

Sorry Darryl -- TasUni already has second rate status ---- when you look at its research capabilities and outcomes


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