The quality of university education is set to decline as soon as universities reopen, according to academics. They warned that the university will see a ballooning number of new admissions into the universities, which will be short-staffed due to the layoffs that happened after the coronavirus hit the country.
The president of the National Tertiary Education Union, Dr. Alison Barnes, warned that universities will be having larger than usual class sizes due to inflation in the number of students enrolling in the universities. He admitted that normally this would not be a problem, however, the universities have undergone major staff cuts that meant that there would be fewer tutors for more students in schools.
University education quality in danger
Statistics released from the country showed that university enrollments had already started to rise amidst a severe shortage of teaching staff due to layoffs. The universities had also lost billions as a result of months of closure, which further put university education quality in danger.
Universities have also had to undergo changes to adapt to new government policies that have seen them being denied money that would have helped them keep their staff employed. The government also went ahead and cut the overall spending on university education, further compromising the university education in the country.
Dr. Barnes said that universities were being forced by the government to increase the number of domestic students in order for them to avoid funding cuts. This meant that they were being required to teach more students with less than usual funding. She added that employing fewer permanent staff will end up having a negative effect on university education.
According to data tracking this surge in student enrollments, New South Wales and ACT saw a rise of 37 percent enrollments. Data from the University Admissions Centre also showed that there was a 44 percent bump in the number of year 12 students who have applied early to start next year as compared to last year during the same period.
However, the universities have denied that the quality of education will be harmed by these changes. A spokeswoman for the University of Sydney said this boom did not take them by surprise and it was an open secret since the 2000s. Although she admitted that the situation may have been exacerbated by the pandemic, meaning they were prepared for it.
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