||Issue No. 175||24 April 2003|
Interview: Picking Up The Peaces
Unions: The Royal Con
National Focus: Around the Grounds
Economics: The Secret War on Trade
International: United Front
History: Confessions of a Badge Collector
Politics: Stalin’s Legacy
Review: Such Was Not Ned’s Life
Poetry: Osama's Top Recruiter
Satire: Woolworths CEO Denied Bonus After Company Posts Profit
The Locker Room
Success Breeds Contempt
Join the Dots
Howard Attacks Education - Again
In 2002 the Federal Education Minister Brendan Nelson began yet another review of tertiary education.
The results of this review will form the central domestic platform for the coalition in this years May budget.
The planned attacks on universities and TAFE are an attack on the rights of workers and their families to access the education system paid for by our taxes.
Since the election of the Howard government in 1996 the participation rates of working class students in universities have dramatically fallen. This is likely a direct result of tuition fee increases introduced by Howard since 1996. Australia now has some of the highest university fees in the world for students. A likely part of the government's agenda is deregulating university fees, allowing for further fee increases.
Evidence is already appearing that the massive study debt for students is affecting young workers life choices. Graduates are starting families and buying homes much later in life as they repay their debt to the government.
It now appears the government considering introducing university style fees and loans for TAFE students.
In 1997 the Liberals introduced a scheme to universities where students willing to pay fees of up to $150 000 up front were given access to university with a much lower mark. This scheme has functioned as a back door entry scheme for the wealthy and elite to access universities.
The government now plans to introduce a new loan scheme for these full fee paying students. The introduction of a full fee loan scheme will change this system from being a mechanism for the wealthy to jump the entrance queue to a mechanism where aspiring battlers gain access to higher education by incurring full fee costs. It is likely to create a system where will we end up with a student contribution system that in practice acts to make the poor and disadvantaged pay more than the wealthy.
The government also intends to attack the right of university staff and students to be unionised. The government's policy is likely to include an end to universal student unionism and legislation preventing university staff having the right to strike. The government is likely to also attempt to force academics on government research grants to be on AWA's. The government has a clear agenda of destroying students and staff unions so that they can continue their agenda of privatising public education.
Defending public education is about defending the rights of workers and their children. The government's reform agenda is aimed at locking average Australians out of tertiary education. Workers have a key role to play if we are going to protect young Australian who aspires to TAFE or university from what will be a lifetime of debt repayments.
The National Union of Students and the Tertiary Education Alliance are organising a public forum in Sydney City Town Hall on Thursday the eighth of May. The forum starts at 5:30pm and will include speakers from the community, unions, Greens, Democrats and ALP. This is an opportunity for workers to voice our support for public education.
Anna York NUS NSW Branch President for more information on -
Ph: 0402 025 703
Email: [email protected]
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