MEDIA RELEASE: CAPA calls for Government higher education decisions to be about policy, not cuts
The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) is concerned that higher education policy in Australia is being dictated by the Government’s short-sighted funding cuts, rather than being based on any reasoning about the nation’s current and future needs.
A report published today by the Mitchell Institute forecasts future enrolments in vocational training and undergraduate study. Their report stunningly illustrates the impact of Government funding decisions as flatlining or falling participation rates as a proportion of population.
Over the last six months, we have seen the Government hack away at our enviable higher education system. Before Christmas, universities were subjected to a funding freeze, meaning that universities had to turn away Australians who would otherwise have been accepted into a degree. More recently, the Government has proposed retroactive changes to student loans, which would see lower-earning graduates forced to pay back their student contributions sooner. Meanwhile we have seen no commitment to adequately supporting those who are already in the system. There is no relief in sight for the majority of domestic postgraduate students who are paying extortionate course fees and are ineligible for Austudy entitlements.
Today’s Mitchell Institute report provides a graphic reminder that the Government’s education policy decisions do not consider Australia’s future economic needs. Rather, it is a question of trying to save money in the short-term, at a cost of crippling the system and eliminating equitable access to higher education.
CAPA is furthermore concerned about the upcoming federal budget being utilised to reaffirm the Government’s desire to squeeze money out of young and lower-earning graduates. We call on the Government to premise their higher education decisions on the population’s needs instead of seeing students and universities as an easy target.
For further comment:
CAPA National President
P: 0430 076 993
Loren Smith, Campus Review
Were Finkel’s comments productive, glib, or something in-between? Was he sincere about PhDs wanting to choose their own academic or non-academic paths, or was this a distraction from the fact that the academic job market is evaporating?
Natasha Abrahams offered a different view. The National President of the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) thinks that whatever career path post-PhDs select, it doesn’t really matter – at least on a societal level. ‘People undertake doctoral study for a diversity of reasons,’ she said.
‘Regardless of what a PhD student plans for after their graduation, their doctoral research contributes to the national research output.’
Yet she suggested a reason for why some PhD graduates choose to leave academia: money, or, more accurately, a lack thereof.
Kirstie Chlopicki, Campus Review
In an Australian-first, Group of Eight universities will investigate and publish the extent to which PhD students contribute to the nation.
The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) has responded to the announcement with support.
“Doctoral students are a diverse group, with different expectations and reasons for undertaking the PhD. We are hopeful that the Go8 project will reflect this diversity and illuminate the long-term outcomes of completing doctoral study,” it said in a statement.
“We look forward to the existence of rich data on PhD career outcomes, which may be useful to prospective students, as well as to current students considering career paths to choose post-graduation.”
The Northern Daily Leader
Attacks on all fronts, according to University of New England Student Association (UNESA) president Koady Williams.
UNESA and other student unions across the nation have started petitions to “bury the bill”, Mr Williams saying it borders on “punishing people for seeking higher education.
On the loan cap, he says it could discourage people from seeking further education.
It’s a view supported by the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations, which said earlier this year “the government should be prioritising an educated workforce for tomorrow”.
MEDIA RELEASE: CAPA welcomes PhD career pathways survey
The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) is pleased to hear of the announcement of the ‘Understanding PhD Career Pathways’ project to be conducted by the Group of Eight (Go8) universities.
The Go8’s project intends to chart PhD career outcomes by surveying those who are three, five, and fifteen years out from PhD completion.
Doctoral students are a diverse group, with different expectations and reasons for undertaking the PhD. We are hopeful that the Go8 project will reflect this diversity and illuminate the long-term outcomes of completing doctoral study.
We look forward to the existence of rich data on PhD career outcomes, which may be useful to prospective students, as well as to current students considering career paths to choose post-graduation.
“Students who finish a PhD project have demonstrated high-level transferable skills in critical thinking, project management, communication, problem solving, and self-discipline,” says CAPA National President Natasha Abrahams. “We are very interested to see how the Australian PhD experience maps on to career outcomes.”
For further comment:
CAPA National President
P: 0430 076 993
Meg Francis, Armidale Express
University of New England Student Association says the federal government’s new policy to lower the threshold for uni loan repayments ‘attacks’ students.
President Koady Williams said the association believed the proposed Higher Education Support Legislation Amendment (Student Loan Sustainability) Bill 2018 wasn’t an equitable solution.
He said UNESA was supporting the National Union of Students and Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations’ “bury the bill” campaign against the lower threshold.
“We are also encouraging students to sign the petition for the senate to drop the bill,” Mr Williams added.
“We need a government who supports education with their budget.”
The National Union of Students (NUS) and the Council of Postgraduate Students (CAPA) launched their campaign to fight proposed changes to student loan legislation earlier this year,” he said.