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MEDIA RELEASE: Performance-based funding model tinkers at the edge of failing system, says CAPA

8 Aug 19

Performance-based funding model tinkers at the edge of failing system, says CAPA

The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) cautions that the new performance-based funding model does not address the funding issues plaguing universities.

The Government proposes to distribute $80 million to universities based on graduate employment rates, student satisfaction with teaching, attrition rates, and equity group enrolments. The performance-based funding is only to be applied at an undergraduate level.

This $80 million is a pittance compared to the billions of dollars ripped from undergraduate education, student loans, and research funding in the last two years.

Universities increasingly seek unethical sources of funding to make up for the severe funding cuts from Government. This includes charging extortionate fees to international and domestic postgraduate students, collaborations with weapons manufacturers, and accepting funds from controversial groups such as the Ramsay Centre.

“Implementing performance-based funding without providing an adequate amount of funding to universities is like bailing out a sinking ship using a cup,” says CAPA National President, Natasha Abrahams. “The Government must take decisive action to ensure universities are fully-funded institutions for the public good. While performance-based funding appears to be well-intentioned, it does not adequately address the under-funding of universities and unethical actions taken by university management.”

Moreover, not all metrics used in the performance-based funding model are well thought out. We are concerned about the “student experience” metric, which is not comparable across universities. As we argued in our submission, quoted by the performance-based funding panel’s report, most undergraduate students lack a point of comparison as they have only attended one university. Student perceptions of university are more reflective of their expectations rather than of the quality of education provided.

We furthermore warn that student satisfaction with teaching will create more demands for unpaid labour from the insecurely employed academic staff, many of whom are research students, who undertake the bulk of teaching work.

Our submission to the performance-based funding review can be downloaded here.

For comment:
CAPA National President Natasha Abrahams
M: 0430 076 993