Media Release The UTSSA condemns backdoor privatisation of our tertiary education system

Media Release

​The Federal Government today has proposed that some degrees in the humanities, communications, law, and, commerce will have face fee hikes of up to 113%. Along with this there will be other subjects that the Government deems as being of greater importance in the economy. This is significant to students as the Government is allowing tertiary education to become demand driven, opening up the sector to what is essentially backdoor privatisation.

The very fact that nearly half of the Government’s cabinet is comprised of humanities graduates signifies just how important this degree is, the Government’s agenda is clear and it is that young people from lower SES backgrounds don't deserve the same access to education as their wealthier counterparts. This further establishes a two-tier system, and segregates voices that will make it into politics and academia.

The Government is clearly waging a culture war in our Universities by deeming some skills worthier than others instead of recognising Universities as a place for education, research and academic practice. The current HECS bands are based on expected income from degrees. Obviously, most sociologists make less income than an investment banker, so it makes sense to put humanities in band 1 and finance in band 4. This is a blatant ideologically-based attack on humanities by a conservative government to stop students from developing the skills to critique them. It is rather Orwellian indeed that the Government is specifically trying to make it more expensive to learn about history and politics, suppressing the ability for the masses to intelligently criticise them. Humanities subjects are rightly considered vital for a huge swathe of roles across society, and it is clear that this government doesn't care about improving access to people from diverse backgrounds. In fact, as a communications student myself, I’ve learnt that diverse backgrounds in academia only allow for a broader perspective and advancement of shared knowledge.

And, even if the Government’s aims were correct - they are still approaching the issue from entirely the wrong angle, University degrees are relatively inelastic which has resulted in mass amounts of student debt in the USA. If the Government really believed that University students choose degrees based off how much they have to pay for them then they wouldn’t have tried to pass fee deregulation in 2014 otherwise they would’ve created a generation of uneducated and unskilled people for the workforce.

The UTS Students’ Association is wholeheartedly in favour of a fully funded tertiary education system and condemns any attempts to privatise our education further.

For Further Comment;

Samuel Silcock

UTSSA President