The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) welcomes the announcement today by the federal Minister for Education and Training, that higher education funding arrangements for 2016 will not deviate from those currently legislated and the Ministers commitment to consult with higher education stakeholders including students on future reform.
The National President Harry Rolf said “This is an important turning point in the current higher education policy debate, it is an acknowledgment that deregulation is not good policy, and that students are major stakeholders in the sector. This is a victory for all students”.
“Sustainable funding of higher education is an important public issue, but solutions must be sensitive to the needs of all higher education stakeholders. Postgraduates will be relieved to hear that the 10% cut in Research Training Scheme (RTS) funds and proposed fee on research degrees are now off the table. Policy that no one in the sector supported”.
CAPA wants to see the value of postgraduate students receive greater recognition in higher education policy and by universities moving forward.
“Postgraduates have an important role to play in research, development and innovation. Their participation in Australia’s research workforce starts well before graduation and this contribution must be recognised and supported”.
“But a range of outstanding issues need to be addressed. Currently the RTS does not cover the full cost of research training and the Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) rate is below both the minimum wage and Henderson Poverty line. It is time that these issues receive proper attention” Concluded Mr Rolf.
CAPA looks forward to working with the Minister and higher education stakeholders to develop policy and reforms which improve Australia’s higher education sector and conditions for postgraduate students.