Labor announces tertiary education plan promising to invest $9,000 more per student in a “student funding guarantee.”
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) supports Labor’s pledge to boost university funding by $4 billion saying it is a significant reversal of previous changes made by the Liberal party.
The pledge, released by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten today, will make university degrees cheaper and aims to reduce drop-out rates.
National President of the NTEU Jeannie Rea said “It’s a very different tradition then when Labor lost government, when of course, they cut higher education and we were outraged at that.”
Ms Rea said Australian undergraduates already pay high fees compared with other countries.
“If we’re saying education’s so critical to our future, and two out of three jobs will require a degree in the future, and we’re relying upon people to go to university, putting in the work and coming out with good degrees…” she said.
“… It’s still a bit rich that our students are shouldering so much debt when they leave university and they struggle to get [a] foot hold in their careers.”
The plan aims to drastically reduce drop-out rates to ensure 20,000 more students each year complete their degrees.
Jeannie Rea said she strongly supports Labor’s plans to look into what happens when students are at university, and what is needed for putting students through to completion.
“From our point of view, that’s critical because that’s when it starts to look at what happens at university and at the moment, we have had many more students enroll and that’s blown out class sizes,” she said.
“We would like to see the Labor government and university show their real commitment to higher quality, higher education teaching by actually putting their resources into the teaching of all the students coming in so that every students who enrolls knows that they will get the support to ensure they can come out with a high quality degree.”
Jeannie Rea said she applauds Labor’s commitment to improving higher education.
“There’s a very good flavour in Labor’s policy of wanting to get things to be more consistent and on-going rather than just chopping and changing higher education,” she said.
“In our experience, every time there’s a bit of a budget tightening, it’s always the thing that comes up for the cuts and that’s just not good enough.”