For purely ideological reasons the conservatives want a crisis that they can use to turn our higher education system into something resembling what they have in America. It has taken a while but gradually the Vice Chancellors have worked out that that is simply stupid! Now they are starting to break ranks and talk sense!
This story appeared in Fairfax media this morning:
In a dramatic break with the longstanding position of his fellow Group of Eight vice-chancellors, University of NSW vice-chancellor Ian Jacobs said higher fees are not necessary for Australia to have a high quality university system.
"There is no crisis in Australian higher education,"
"Our system is the envy of the world."
"Fundamentally, the teaching side of university education works well."
Vice-chancellors from the elite Group of Eight universities have been the biggest backers of fee deregulation, including Professor Jacobs' predecessor Fred Hilmer.
New figures released by the Department of Education this week show strong financial results for most universities, with the sector recording an overall surplus of $1.9 billion - 7 per cent of revenue.
The University of Melbourne recorded a surplus of $183 million, while three universities - Victoria University, the University of Tasmania and University of Canberra - recorded deficits.
While there could be some funding tweaks for specific disciplines, Professor Jacobs said there is currently a good balance between private and public contributions to higher education.
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