Anecdotally, students are struggling financially

A while ago I remember former Education Minister (now ‘defence man walking’) Brendan Nelson telling a group of assembled teachers that parents were demanding plain language reports because they’d emailed and phoned his office to tell him. No evidence whatsoever to support that wildly anecdotal claim.

Now, we have the current minister doubting the results of a new survey that found that (tertiary) student poverty had worsened over the past decade, basically suggesting that the students lied.

Nice, coming from someone in charge of education to have that attitude to the constituents! And, that the report was anecdotal. Seems that anecdotes are enough to change some policies, but not others.

The AGE report said:

Federal Education Minister Julie Bishop has challenged the validity of a survey that found student poverty has worsened dramatically this decade. In an interview with The Age, Ms Bishop described a report by lobby group Universities Australia – which found nearly one in four undergraduates took out loans last year to cover basic living costs – as “very anecdotal”, and questioned whether students answered truthfully.

“I know what I would have said if I were a student,” she said. “I just think that we can do better in terms of getting an evidence-based report. But I accept as a matter of principle that we’ve got to focus on students’ ability to study at university.”


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