Angry academics are blaming university chiefs for “dumbing down’’ degrees to enrol students with low levels of literacy and numeracy as “cash cows’’.
With 200,000 international students flying into Australia to begin university courses this year, an alliance of academics and student and postgraduate associations known as Public Universities Australia has criticised falling academic standards.
The PUA has warned a Senate inquiry of the “dumbing down of student assessment tasks to accommodate higher numbers of both domestic and international students with lower levels of literacy and numeracy’’.
“(There is) the widespread attitude among senior management that students are ‘cash cows’,’’ PUA states in its submission, which it says is endorsed by Academics for Public Universities and the Australian Association of University Professors.
The PUA says university leaders frequently ignore the “core functions’’ of teaching, research and community outreach, while prioritising property development and investment vehicles.
It notes significant reductions in sessional class time, teaching instruction and support available to students, with significant increases in staff to student ratios since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.