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The Forum > Article Comments > Compacts take us into the metrics > Comments

Compacts take us into the metrics : Comments

By Richard James, published 19/8/2008

How do you tell how well a university is running the race?

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Blind Freddy can see that universities are being underfunded, the % of GDP devoted to tertiary education has fallen in the last decade. Does the Group of Eight want objective metrics to demonstrate why they are more worthy of increasing their share of a shrinking pie.

The emphasis on research means that quality teaching which isn't a problem at Melbourne University which selects the academically most able students from the best connected familial backgrounds. Melbourne University students just need to be pointed in the right direction and off they go vying each other for top marks. Except for medicine, dentristy, and optometry Melbourne isn't concerned about turning out job ready graduates. The assumption is the graduate will receive an induction program at work.

Other universities are not as well resourced as Melbourne, they select in students of lesser academic standing, [and lower socioeconomic background] who are looking for vocational training. These institutions rely on overseas students to make up the shortfall in funding from federal sources.

In Victoria 60% of TAFE teachers are casuals, hired at $40 per hour for 4 hours a week, spread over 2 or 3 days. This could mean that 80% TAFE classes are taught by casuals. Many casuals will not return for a second semester because of the lousy pay and miserable conditions.

Many tertiary students are poorly served by the courses they study. Tertiary education is a filter rather than a gateway to a job but needless to say the HECS debt mounts up regardless. In fact individual faculties at universities do not know or measure the employment rates for their graduates. Not only how long does it take to get a job, but is the job in the field they trained in and are they employed in Australia or overseas. Most students and their parents would like to see those results.
Posted by billie, Tuesday, 19 August 2008 9:57:04 AM
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Pretty much agree with Billie.

Compact metrics? Probably needed a definition up front because they could be OXO beef cubes for all I know.

I thought the Government wanted to have diversity in our post secondary educational sector. How are you going to create a standard measure when every university is teaching and researching new fields, especially the ATN's, who are focused on vocation?

I can see how a standard measure on say research would benefit the Gang of 8 and ensure their place on the 'ladder' (Ivy league ladder?).

The problem is that universities teach 'stuff' and this stuff is so hard to quantify. I'm most certainly not against audits. I'm half of the opinion that there are some universities that deserve to go out of business.

Uni funding is far from being a 'level playing field'. What they should look at is the competency of university managers and heads of school. That would make interesting reading.

Still, it's nice to hear a voice from Carlton.
Posted by Cheryl, Tuesday, 19 August 2008 10:44:52 AM
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