A nice comment in the AGE editorial today, commenting on the Rudd proposal to cut the accumulated HECS debt of a science and maths graduate from more than $21000 to $12000, especially if they worked in a ‘relevant’ occupation, in particular teaching and asking, ‘why just science?’
Given that universities are a nation’s grand halls
of learning, should it be seen that some halls are being better
furnished than others? Notwithstanding the skills shortage, and
The Age has argued that it must be tackled immediately, is
it fair to cut HECS for maths and science and not for arts? Does
Australia not need more philosophers, more dramatists, more poets,
more novelists, too? Of course an economy is not powered by the
musings of a sage, but is it any less worthy in higher learning?
Australia’s public spending on higher education, expressed as a
percentage of GDP, is below the OECD average. When this is coupled
with a 25 per cent increase in HECS fees since 2004 and when 20,000
people in Victoria missed out on a HECS place last month, then
there is an urgent demand to look at the issue in its entirety, not
just in a piecemeal fashion.
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