Welcome to this week’s CASA news, trawled from among the 132 individual and institutional submissions that have been received by the Senate Standing Committee on Education and Employment on the proposed higher education reform bill.
The sustainability of higher education as a profession is the elephant in the kitchen of this reform proposal, that the government and institutional major stakeholders are continuing politely to ignore. The Group of Eight, for example, included a table of student/staff ratios in their submission (p10) without any mention of what proportion of the staff are casual. Universities Australia likewise brought up student/staff ratios (p12) without indicating how they’re calculated.
The NTEU provided the missing detail: 2013 FTE percentages for casual staff at each of Australia’s universities (p41). The NTEU also separately highlighted as a deregulation risk:
even greater reliance on casual and short-term contract staff to deliver higher education programs and undertake research as result of the higher levels of funding uncertainty associated with fully contestable funding.
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