In reaction to the Federal Government’s recently proposed plan of liberalising the previous structure for higher education sectors, Victoria University has endorsed a ‘refreshed strategic plan’, entitling itself as the, ‘University for Opportunity’. It isn’t as harmless as it sounds. In an attempt to improve Victoria University’s position in the future blood-thirsty tertiary marketplace, Victoria University will be terminating the employment for 200 professional staff and 100 academics. Wasn’t the 400 job losses, from the 2012 budget cuts to TAFE enough of a slaughter? The reinvestment of $50 million in savings by 2016 will allow the university to become Australia’s leading sports orientated university, and apparently takes higher precedence. It is the blood and bones of the accomplished teaching staff that make attending Victoria University worthwhile.
Based on the recorded number of students currently attending Victoria University for 2014, by the Australian Network of Education (AEN), there are 5,325 onshore international students and 17,011 domestic students, totalling at 22,336 students. Victoria University predicts that in 2016 it will still provide for the same number of students with the loss of 100 academics? Have they done the math? Statistically this is not viable. A decline in enrolments will be in direct proportion to the lack of quality produced by a university already viewed as an underdog, when compared to Melbourne’s other independently and privately owned institutions.
It starts with the dismissal of academics, the price of courses increasing, and ends with the narrowing of degrees that aren’t deemed ‘career starters’. Isn’t it our right to choose the career path we desire? Don’t believe me? Victoria University wishes to increase the enrolment numbers in degrees of business, sports management, finance, psychology, bioscience and health sciences. Victoria University is compromising its previous integrity of being a university for everyone so it can dress in private tertiary clothing! For some of us, a bachelor degree is what will put us ahead of others applying in already competitive industries.
How many courses will be cut from higher education? If the cuts to the TAFE curriculum in 2013 are anything to go by, many of the creative and social sciences will be left in the shadows. The Australian education system is meant to enforce and emphasise economic, cultural, intellectual and societal development nationally for all Australians. For many of us enrolled in Bachelors, Honours, Masters or PHD’s, we feel that it’s a vital role in aspiring for our futures, which intern reflects the future of our country. We are the future. I understand the pressure the university has been under since 2012, but is it necessary to create a solution where you are only harming the students and faculty who have supported you? It is the Coalition Government who should see that these changes to education structure will promote further anarchy and decrease public interest in education.
Written by Renee Cerncic