Attachment: CAPA Submission
The Australian higher education sector’s contribution to the economy and the long-term sustainability of the expenditure needs of the nation are widely accepted in industry and government. The two biggest contributions made by the higher education sector are the development of human capital and the creation of new knowledge and innovative ideas. These two contributions are the absolute fundamental drivers of economic growth in economies at the technology frontier, as Australia is, along with other high income, high Human Development Index nations.
Research students contribute to the majority of Australia’s research output in human resource terms at 57%. Expanding support for research students will benefit Australia through higher human capital formation and greater R&D capabilities within the higher education sector.
CAPA has identified three priority areas to inform the formation of the 2016-17 Federal Budget, where funding will ensure continued strong growth of the Higher Education Sector as well as Australian research.
The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) is calling on the Federal Government to invest in higher education, to ensure the continued strong growth of the higher education sector and of research in Australia.
The Australian higher education sector’s contribution to the economy and the long-term sustainability of the expenditure needs of the nation are widely accepted in industry and government. The two biggest contributions made by the higher education sector are the development of human capital as expressed by increasing overall skill levels of the working age population, by teaching and learning activities for coursework students; and the creation of new knowledge, innovative ideas, and applied solutions for industry, performed by research postgraduate students and academic staff.
These two contributions are the absolute fundamental drivers of economic growth in economies at the technology frontier, as Australia is, along with other high income, high Human Development Index nations.
The development of higher levels of human capital among the working age population is highly valued by the labour market. Those possessing a postgraduate qualification experience significantly lower unemployment rates and receive a dramatic wage premium over bachelor’s degree graduates. These higher wages return to federal and state budgets in the form of higher income and payroll tax receipts.
The volume and quality of the Australian higher education sector’s research output ranks in the top ten OECD countries, despite having the second lowest public expenditures on higher education in the OECD at a mere 0.7% of GDP. Research students contribute to the majority of Australia’s research output in human resource terms at 57%. Expanding support for research students will benefit Australia through higher human capital formation and greater R&D capabilities within the higher education sector.
CAPA’s recommendations for the Federal Budget are:
The full CAPA pre-budget submission can be found here.
16 February 2016– The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) welcomes the launch of the Universities Australia ‘Respect. Now. Always.’ campaign. The campaign aims to prevent sexual harassment and assault on university campuses by raising awareness of the issue and by empowering staff and students to seek support as needed.
CAPA calls on all universities to commit to the ‘Respect. Now. Always.’ campaign objective. As a first step, this means that all institutions’ sexual harassment resolution procedures need to be reviewed by an independent external authority.
The lack of trust in reporting and resolution procedures make survivors much less likely to report crimes of this nature. Officially reported incidents are estimated to be merely a fraction of incidents occurring. CAPA National President Jim Smith said it was important that Universities Australia is showing leadership regarding this issue.
“As we know, women are more likely to be survivors of sexual assault and harassment, though this is not exclusively a women’s issue. Too often, incidents that are reported are not adequately dealt with by universities. There is insufficient support, poor institutional mechanisms and a lack of willingness to adequately address these issues. We need a well-resourced, unified approach to ensure that there is support on offer and that these behaviours are deemed completely unacceptable on campuses and in our communities,” he said.
Almost three quarters of women responding to the National Union of Students’ 2015 survey said they had experienced some form of sexual harassment or unwelcome sexual behaviour during their time at university. Given the findings from this survey, CAPA welcomes the commitment from Universities Australia to run a national student survey regarding sexual assault and harassment in order to further understand student experiences.
“This initiative provides an unprecedented opportunity for universities to take a leadership role in addressing what is a pervasive social problem. CAPA welcomes the commitment of Universities Australia to gathering further information on student experiences of sexual assault and harassment. We look forward to participating in this much-needed conversation about the safety of students in Australian universities. We further welcome and support substantive action to address this issue,” said Vice President (Chair of Equity), Alyssa Shaw.
Sexual assault and harassment policies combined with bureaucratic processes at universities are severely inadequate, as documented by the University of Sydney student newspaper, Honi Soit. Their piece illuminated the failure of the University’s harassment complaints resolution procedure to ensure appropriate support, protection and justice, as illustrated by the stories of several women who are survivors of sexual assault and harassment.
Examining policies and data regarding sexual assault and harassment within Australian universities reveals that many universities have similar inadequacies, including poorly articulated enforceable outcomes regarding the resolution of sexual harassment complaints. The general lack of information, and conversation, regarding student safety shows a clear need for transparency and action in order to address this issue.
“CAPA looks forward to working with Universities Australia, the NUS, our members and key stakeholders around the country to address this issue,” concluded Jo Rukensas, CAPA Women’s Officer.