By Jared Berman
The people most affected by university fee deregulation are rarely in a position to do anything about it before it gets implemented, but thanks to a leaked document we are a step ahead of the lawmakers.
The proposed changes are to take away states’ autonomy when it comes to allocating funding to public TAFE institutes and place them in control of the federal government based on advice from a panel of industry experts.
Additionally, the changes outlined in the leaked draft would reduce funding to public TAFE institutes to the same level as privately funded TAFEs.
The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) is set to meet in March to discuss the details of the reform and is likely to be heavily resistant, based on the failures of past fee reform of the same type.
The COAG is likely to oppose this set of reforms because it reduces their own power, and not because it would be detrimental to students and the entire education system.
The reasoning for all these changes is to put all institutes on an even keel, and by doing so will increase competition in the sector; a fairly infantile position to take as unifying the funding model for TAFEs Australia-wide would allow for a monopoly, the opposite of diversity.
The purpose of publicly funded higher education is to provide a baseline of learning and opportunity for all Australians; privately funded universities and TAFEs take that baseline and build on it, providing better service thanks to their name and a larger pool of resources provided by students and private donors.
This is all in addition to the already established practice of banks offering student loans to people they know will not be able to pay them back, the exact same exercise that led to the Global Financial Crisis in 2008.
I encourage all readers to take democracy into their own hands and contact their representatives to find out their positions; they do, after all, have to answer to the public.
Find your COAG members here:
Read the draft reform bill in full here: