The Australian Technology Network of Universities (ATN) has strongly advocated that changes to Higher Education reform must adhere to the core principles of access, equity and affordability as a key plank of its submission to the Government’s higher education policy consultation.
ATN Executive Director Renee Hindmarsh said Australia’s higher education system was both equitable and world-class but the ATN were concerned the proposed Flagship Courses risked creating a two-tiered university system that locked out key disadvantaged groups.
“The ATN supports efforts to ensure more students from disadvantaged and under-represented groups have the opportunity to attend and successfully complete university, including foundation and enabling programs,” Ms Hindmarsh said.
Ms Hindmarsh said the ATN welcomed more funding for TEQSA and QILT, but stressed it was imperative the Government restored funding cuts to the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program.
“Many disadvantaged groups depend on significant support to attend university. Budget cuts to programs supporting disadvantaged students and innovative teaching and learning will not achieve a more innovative society,” Ms Hindmarsh said.
“We need more targeted support, not less, to ensure students from all backgrounds are successful in their studies.
“The ATN also welcomes efforts to introduce an equitable and transparent system for funding postgraduate Commonwealth Supported places, and recommend that any changes should be applied uniformly across the sector.
“Collectively, ATN universities educate almost 20% of Australia’s university students and 22% Australia’s international students.
“We understand the Government faces fiscal constraints, however student needs should always be at the forefront of any reform.
“We hope this process will provide some much needed certainty for the sector. We encourage the Government to take a holistic approach when considering reform options in the larger context of the National Innovation and Science Agenda in order to create a truly sustainable, world-class higher education system,” Ms Hindmarsh said.
Media contact: Renee Hindmarsh 0416 265 038.