University groups in Australia have rejected a new legislation by the government looking to expand universities in the country. The legislation proposes harsher punishment for students who fail in classes and a school fees hike for most courses in the university.
A new draft legislation released last week has made universities and research groups in Australia nervous about what the future hold. The legislation looks to address the rising demand for the country’s higher education, which is the third-largest export in the country.
In the legislation, the government has set out plans to increase vacancies for students who would want to study in the country. To do that, they have suggested steps such as hiking of schools and being tougher on students’ failure rates.
However, the legislation has many university groups worried, as the country continues to come out of months-long coronavirus lockdowns. With the international students’ numbers already being low, due to the pandemic, many universities have indicated that they will struggle financially, once the schools are fully reopened.
University groups opposition
University groups have now started voicing their concern over the new legislation, opposing clauses that they deem are too radical and will end up having a negative effect on student enrollment.
Innovative Research Universities raised concerns about the proposed school fees hike. The group, whose members include the likes of La Trobe University and Western Sydney University urged the government to water down the requirement of price hikes.
Under the hiking of prices, the government has indicated that courses in humanities will see their pricing doubled bringing the price to $14,500. Law and commerce will also see a significant rise in the pricing of its program, with the government indicating they were willing to increase the programs by 28 percent bringing the total to $14,500.
Teaching, nursing, clinical psychology, English, languages, maths and agriculture courses will be charged at a price of $3,700.
Group of Eight elite research universities university group also had an objection to the proposed changes in the universities, indicating that the changes would have unintended consequences. They also made a case on why it was the wrong time to implement these changes, due to coronavirus which has impacted the industry greatly.
The Australian Technology Network of Universities university group also opposed the increase in fees for humanity courses. They argued that this would deter students from enrolling in these courses due to the high cost, leaving these fields without enough individuals with skills.
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