The Universities

The Betrayal of the Intellectuals

Everybody has won and all must have prizes. So the Dodo answers, after the “caucus-race” in Alice in Wonderland, when the participants, understandably, cry out in chorus, “But who has won?” This nonsense is set to become our decidedly unfunny reality, thanks to the caucus of the federal Labor Party and its Minister for Education, Jason Clare.

In 1960, the eldest child of our next-door neighbours in Canberra was completing the Leaving Certificate at the local high school, with the intention of matriculating and proceeding to university. I remember this clearly, nearly sixty-five years on, as it was remarkable, for two reasons. Then, just 5 per cent of school-leavers, in Australia and the UK—and probably elsewhere in the developed world, too—went on to university. Further, this child was a girl, which made it even more remarkable, as most of the matriculants of those days were boys.

Through the 1960s, as a result of the expansion of higher education under the Menzies government, and such strategies in high schools as the Wyndham Scheme in New South Wales, which encouraged more pupils to stay on at school to Year 12, a just and significant widening of opportunities for university study, based entirely on merit, occurred. Many in that generation, such as I, were the first in their families to go to university, and for free, on such as Commonwealth and Teachers’ College scholarships. Yet the myth persists that it was under the later Whitlam Labor government, from 1972 (by which time I was finishing my first degree), that this significant opening-up of university opportunities occurred.

Fast-forward to today and tomorrow. Now, more than 50 per cent of school-leavers proceed to university, where, moreover, the majority of the enrolments are female. In its latest bright idea, hard on the heels of squandering hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ dollars on a failed referendum—the only result of which has been to divide an already divided nation even further—the Albanese government is proposing that, by mid-century (in other words, in just a generation’s time), some 80 per cent of school-leavers will go on to degree courses.

Universities, which, in the 1950s, were the size of large high schools, with maybe 3000 students, have sprawled, over the last half-century, into bloated, suburb-like communities, with enrolments surging (on several metropolitan campuses) towards 100,000. And the number of universities, too, has more than quadrupled: there are now forty-two in Australia. In 1960, there were just ten. This has outstripped the national population growth, which has not even tripled over the same period.

All of this is presented, utterly uncritically, by government (and, by default, by an ever-silent-on-education, so-called “conservative” opposition), the university authorities themselves and in most of the media reporting and commentary, as a wondrous development: let the great Dodo Day come when everybody goes to university, and everybody has a degree! As Gilbert and Sullivan pointed out in The Gondoliers, in simple wisdom that is, nonetheless, apparently beyond the ken of these ideologically-driven policy-makers: “when everyone is somebody, then no one’s anybody”.

It is a strange irony, indeed, that politicians and policy-makers of Labor orientation should think it necessary for working people who do not possess a university degree to have one, as some kind of validation of their worth. I have five of these (acquired, of necessity, in establishing an academic career) and so far from considering myself of superior attainment to the electrician who re-wired my house, with his worthy TAFE qualification and apprenticeship behind him, I (incapable of replacing a fuse) regard his skills with something approaching awe. Would I hold him in higher regard if he had a university degree in his vocation? Would he have a higher regard of himself? The ideas are preposterous.

The disastrous short-sightedness of the policy is truly breathtaking. This great leap forward in the name of equity (and the disposal of merit) is, in fact, a huge step backwards, already, indeed, well under way—the meltdown of our education systems, across the board, has been in train since the 1970s. Standards of entry—and, subsequently, assessment—for tertiary study are being eroded; and, so, the quality of the qualifications granted, and the utter devaluing of first (or bachelor’s) degrees, in general, is proceeding apace.

When everybody has a bachelor’s degree, it is as plain as day that the necessity will arise, for those who want to stand out from the crowd, for career and employment purposes (and who does not?) to pursue postgraduate qualifications and degrees. Then these, in turn, will need to be degraded (as they already have been, with people engaged in doctoral study, in such as the Humanities, that once would have been assessed in the lower range of master’s work) to accommodate the ever-increasing need to attain such qualifications. Then, further student debt, beyond the burden already incurred during the initial undergraduate degree, will have to be borne by these hapless students, for this purpose, for a generation increasingly struggling to find sufficient funds for rental accommodation, let alone the possibility of ever owning a home.

When yet another rise in HECS debt was announced, in April this year, the distressing case of a psychology graduate, Amy Jolliffe, received much coverage. “Growing up in poverty and seeing how my mum struggled, I placed a lot of importance on education,” she said. After getting a double degree and racking up $64,000 in HECS debt, she has given up on her dream, as she would have to undertake a master’s degree (and, so, more debt) to qualify as a psychologist. “I now wish that I dropped out of school when I was fifteen. My debt is relatively high. I’m only paying back the interest, so it feels like I’ll never pay the debt back. I’m feeling completely overwhelmed and disillusioned. I’m feeling hopeless about my future.” The education officer of the National Union of Students, Grace Franco, commented, “We’re set to be the most indebted generation in history. The HECS system is broken.”

Grade inflation is intrinsic to the ever-ramifying meltdown of tertiary education, a classic case being the old Diploma of Education (Dip. Ed.) which graduates proceeding to teaching careers used to undertake for a year at Teachers’ College. Now they must have a degree—a Master’s degree in Education, no less, offered by Faculties of Education in universities, the practical Dip. Ed. having been replaced by such as the Master of Teaching degree. Students have reported that this, unlike the Dip. Ed., gave them little that was practical in the way of training for classroom teaching, but was devoted to half-baked and politically-correct theorising about education.

With regard to the momentous increase in enrolments envisaged by Labor’s plan, in order for a respectable level of degree-completion to be sustained, to justify the time being spent and the debts being incurred, courses for the intellectually incapable, who will be in the ascendant in universities by mid-century, thanks to this hare-brained policy, will need to be so tailored in order that people who should never have been admitted to a university in the first place can progress through to graduation with what will inevitably become, in time, a worthless first degree.

Further, with such degrading of standards, those students who are genuinely of university calibre, always a minority of any population (education is for the educable; higher education is for the highly educable), will inevitably find themselves in classes where they, in a conspicuous minority, will be forcibly retarded, rather than stretched and challenged, in their intellectual development, which was once the principal function of a university education worthy of the name.

Indeed, what is happening in universities—and will become even worse, under this policy—cannot be detached from the ongoing destruction of the Australian school system (detailed in numerous studies, most recently by Alan Lee, “Examining Educational Failure”, in Quadrant, April 2024). The system is failing miserably, by international standards, in numerous surveys. Yet, it is somehow imagined that illiterate and innumerate Year 9 students (that is, fifteen-year-olds)—as a recent study showed many to be—will be transformed, by some abracadabra, within a mere couple more years at school, into worthy, university-calibre students. When it is recognised that, already, Year 12s with ATARs in the 20s (not a typo) are being admitted into teaching degrees—that is, students who were at the bottom of the class at school themselves, and can scarcely read and write, are now training to be teachers of the cohorts of these future masses of university matriculants—the craziness of what is being proposed, in yet another dimension, can be plainly discerned.

Principles of equity, rather than of merit based on demonstrably superior intellectual capacity, will determine that nobody should feel “uncomfortable” as the consequence of demanding and strenuous course content, presentation and discussion. Already, as universities have been fatally poisoned by the epidemic of social justice ideology, surveys of students have reported that many are nervous about speaking their minds about anything remotely controversial, in class or anywhere on campus, lest they offend somebody merely by expressing an opinion.

So much for the contest of ideas! How stimulating tutorials and seminars must be if the participants are constantly second-guessing that what they might be about to say could make someone else feel “unsafe” or fail to subscribe to the accepted narratives of the contemporary academic class. As Professor Richard Dawkins has said, a university is not a safe space. If that is what you want, go back to Mummy, stick a dummy (very aptly) in your mouth and let the years roll by until you might have sufficiently grown up to be ready for university, once conceived as a rite de passage to adulthood, not a retreat to a crèche where your snowflake personhood disintegrates in the presence of a word or an idea you find confronting, or with which you disagree.

Those students who do express their opinions, even in the supposed privacy of their own room at a university, routinely suffer dire consequences in this dismal domain. A philosophy student at Exeter University, overheard through the wall of his on-campus accommodation saying that “gender fluidity is stupid”, was reported, threatened with expulsion for “saying some very offensive things”, and was put on a “behavioural contract” for the remainder of his studies there. “It was like the Stasi had come to my door,” the student, Robert Ivinson, said, when the university authorities came after him.   

A university education and a university-educated person, worth their salt, do not merely recognise but honour the extraordinary complexity of human thought and experience, which could not be further removed from a mandated signing-up to a checklist of approved interpretations and readings of that complicated story. In a recent address to new scholars at the Australian Catholic University (published in the May Quadrant as “The Virtue of Courage”), Professor Simon Haines of the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation spoke of “the capacity for attending to human complexity”, which he particularly derived from wide reading. He terms it “a moral capacity”:

It’s the direct contrary of the lax and dangerous tendency we now see everywhere, to categorise all human beings by one or two of their views or attributes, their class or gender or race or tribe or a couple of their opinions, which is known as identity politics and is not a progressive force but the opposite, a completely regressive one.

“True education”, he continues, moves us “beyond a trivialising and conformist and divisive and often extremist mindset, which is being so dangerously turbocharged by social media”. Alas, it is also turbocharged in the very last places where this should be so: in our schools and universities today.

What is alarming is that there has been so little in the way of in-depth critiques of the government’s proposal, to date, and, most extraordinarily, from within the universities themselves, which are to be so badly affected by it. We could expect next to nothing in the way of a defence of what a university is from the class of persons, these days, who, more and more, are appointed to the most senior executive positions within them. Some, most grotesquely, are individuals from such as the corporate world who, although having the once-respected title “Professor” routinely conferred upon them, may never have taught a university class, or have had accepted so much as one refereed article for a scholarly journal, let alone written a monograph in their discipline—not possessing a discipline—or supervised a research project: the modest attainments of a junior academic.

In a joint article, “The crisis of academic values and governance in Australian universities”, four senior professors (Zoeliner, Carnegie, Guthrie, Graeber), have declared that:

Australian university senior management has become distressingly disconnected from and unaccountable to academic values. Many university managers have no academic experience working in universities. Students, governments, industry and granting bodies pay universities to deliver services according to universally accepted academic values. However, academics are impeded from following those values, and from working to the best of their ability, by senior managers who do not share academic values, do not know what academic freedom is based on, and do not work according to academic values.

In his essay of December last year, “The Treason of the Intellectuals” (drawing on Julien Benda’s much-quoted phrase from 1927, “la trahison des clercs”), Professor Niall Ferguson, the Scottish-American historian, referred to the “enormous bureaucracies of non-academics, people not engaged in research or in teaching, purely engaged in administration. They’re a huge part of the problem” in the modern university, which Ferguson observed in the course of working as an academic for thirty years.

But what of the academics themselves, whom we might hope were concerned about the erosion of their institutions, which has been thoroughly examined in several recent studies, such as William Coleman’s collection of essays, Campus Meltdown: The Deepening Crisis in Australian Universities (2019): “The Australian campus is marked by either torpor or mob rule. Academic morale is low. Students are disengaged. Unemployment rates of new graduates are strikingly high”, in spite of the “din of self-celebratory propaganda from ‘the sector’ which shrouds these facts”.

The astonishing failure of most academics to call out this disaster is indeed a betrayal of their calling and of themselves. One might have supposed that (as nothing else has, so far) this new policy of the federal government which is destined to deepen the already-identified crisis and further erode the idea of a university, might at last have stirred them into significant action and protest. One recognises, of course, that such is the depth of the corruption in tertiary institutions that any academic who does speak up and speak out will be swiftly thrown out—the number of cancellations of mis-speaking academics, here and elsewhere, is now legion. But were a substantial body of them to rise up in opposition to the latest proposed undermining of the university and its true purpose, and the dire consequences of this, the nation at large might start to take some notice.

The inquiry by the committee on Australian universities in 1957, known as the “Murray Report”, stressed the importance of academics exercising free speech which would, at times, be unpopular, in order to challenge the self-delusion of governments and of the people generally. “The spirit of that report is now virtually forgotten”, the four professors mentioned earlier note in their article. “Increasingly authoritarian university managements dissociated from academic values, undermine the work of academics” and endanger the public life of the nation. The time is long overdue for academics to rise to the challenge of defending the idea of a university against the forces outside of it and, now, deeply embedded inside, which are inimical to universities achieving their true purpose.

Barry Spurr, Literary Editor of Quadrant, worked as an academic for forty years and was Australia’s first Professor of Poetry

23 thoughts on “The Betrayal of the Intellectuals

  • saunderm says:

    This is a superbly written article that brings together in a personal and engaging way what many of us have been saying since the disastrous Dawkins (John, not Richard) Revolution of the late 1980s/early 1990s. But what are these mainly Labor Commonwealth ministers of education (Dawkins, Gillard, Clare, and others in between) ultimately trying to achieve? What is their desired end? Some critics say it is just the mundane objective of keeping the young off the unemployment queues for several years. Certainly these wreckers have created thousands of jobs in administration etc for their own. But, like Professor Spurr, I agree that the ALP is driven by ideology: ‘equity’, ‘social inclusion’, ‘egalitarianism’, anti-meritocracy – to name the most obvious. But what is it that they eventually want to happen? They have over 30-40 years largely trashed Australia’s higher education system; the question is whether they want to totally destroy it. I would welcome Professor Spurr’s responses to this question

    • Libertarian says:

      “But what are these mainly Labor Commonwealth ministers of education (Dawkins, Gillard, Clare, and others in between) ultimately trying to achieve?”

      A higher vote for the Labor Party, those of parents who thought university was a ticket to higher pay levels.

      Certainly my parent’s motivation. There was no family argument, I was going to university, no correspondence entered into.

      I was eventually spat out into Neville Wran’s 1982-3 recession, with a degree and his government shutting down the industry I had trained for.

      I would very likely now be a fabulously wealth property developer if I hadn’t, working alongside my father’s extensive connection of cronies in the building industry. For whom I worked during my university vacations!

  • Alan Lee says:

    Having myself been a beneficiary of secondary education and free tertiary education in the 1960s, and later in the 1890s, I have been a witness to the detrimental changes in secondary education and the in the universities. I offer a simple (and maybe simple-minded) suggestion. In the 1960s fewer than half of us got beyond the year 10 Intermediate Examinations, and only half of those who did so got through year 12 Leaving Honours Examinations (in SA). Students who are now required to stay on at school are not doing anything useful with that time. They are studying Physical Education, Home Economics, Tourism, Child Studies, Visual Art, and endless other subjects made available to them so they can avoid the academic subjects they are incapable or unwilling to undertake. Only those who directly witness daily activities of these students at school are able to see that it’s all a waste of time. All these newly devised subjects, nominally vocational, involve little more than busywork, dignified by the catch-all term ‘research’. Yet it costs as much to keep all this business going as does providing real education to those capable and willing to do academic work. Three quarters of the present day senior school cohort could be out in the workforce, learning a trade, perhaps supported in an apprenticeship, and fully committed to whatever career path they choose. The money saved could provide free university education for those intellectually capable of such an education, and all to the benefit of the wider community. The highly educated ‘elite’ don’t, on average, earn more in their careers than those who make a success of a career in a trade. TAFEs and CAEs functioned very well when they provided Certificates and Diplomas in courses that deserved financing because they were accountable for the success rates of their graduates.

  • Geoff Sherrington says:

    Your comments are seconded.
    When I graduated B.Sc, in 1967, I was penniless, married with a 1 yo, renting a home, driving an old car our parents supplied and working at CSIRO. Uni fees, then low, courtesy a couple of scholarships. No silver spoons in sight. The exams were tough. I kept some exam papers in Physics. When I show them today people have little idea of the subjects, though they represented important advances in Physics at the time.
    Yet, like many readers here, we made it. In two words, the essential ingredient was “hard work”. Secondary included honesty, thrift, self-sufficiency, leading rather than being lead, fighting regulatory excesses and a tiny bit of good luck.

  • Tony Thomas says:

    Incidental to my writings, I’ve read numbers of successful PhD theses, including from Group of Eight top-tier universities. They range from puerile economic b/s (supervised by supervisors of like mind) to the arty style of
    finding a bunch of 20-50 people to survey about anything (1/3 middle of thesis), surveying the equally crappy literature (first third) and drawing wordy conclusions from the puerile survey (final third). One thesis largely involved recounting the author’s dreams (psych job). I read one biographical effort from a Perth university candidate in which the successful bonnet-getter mentioned that the Soviet Union had invaded North Korea circa 1950. It’s noteworthy that the supervisor let that go through to final product.

    • aco44409 says:

      TT you’ve described precisely my own thoughts on my eldest daughter’s dissertation for her MSc in ‘Project Management’, which was ‘awarded’ to her five years ago just before her fiftieth birthday.

      • Daffy says:

        Project Management, like any ‘management’ to my mind is a craft; craft skills are best taught by the apprentice system, with discrete specialist training for particular subjects. BTW, I’ve worked in management and ‘so-called’ executive roles in the public and private sectors for many years, nay decades. Mind you, grade inflation occurs here too. I note in the public service a ‘director’ (aka a ‘manager’ in the old language) is the badge of favour for the up and coming. But I do like the English system of ‘Secretary’ as the boss, then deputy…, under…assistant under…which is about ‘director’ in some Oz public services. Now, ‘director’; seriously? This should be reserved for those who take real risk (sort of) with board seats and certainly not the risk free zone of public servant manager.

  • Occidental says:

    In most of the 20th century, universities were as John Williams described them in Stoner, a place for the mildly intelligent, to hide from the grind of life. Today in Australia they have found new and additional customers, those chasing the Ponzi scheme of residence, adolescent girls with little idea of their purpose, and adolescent boys chasing those adolescent girls. The great problem is that the longer you drink from the well of formal education the more derivative you become. Universities spit out automatons in their hundreds of thousands.

  • Peter Marriott says:

    Good piece Barry and good comments, I was only reading the hard copy over the weekend.
    Sort of begs the question that I’ve raised in my own mind many times and with others ; If everyone has a degree who is going to be our cleaners and labourers, bake our bread, and be the cooks, & dig the ditches and do the hard dirty work building the roads or building anything for that matter as opposed to designing it, & also not forgetting our farmers and cattle and sheep station workers.
    Electricians of course at the level that I’m talking about are in the very high upper order of workers, and regarded so in the trades, both skilled and unskilled, and we should also throw in the armed forces comparison, are they all to be officers just giving orders to each other, no privates and ordinary sailors etc. is there to be nobody left prepared to get down into the ditch and get their hands dirty.
    In fact the whole thing is ridiculous and what we end up with is great inefficiency at all levels with out of work degree people forced to do the jobs they never wanted to do and mix with the uneducated or less educated people and become disgruntled and very bad at their job.
    There’s no need for me to add I think that there will be people who do not get all this education and don’t want it, who will become a sort of very separate class……and there will be friction… fact for those with eyes to see there’s enough of it out there now, let me assure you.

    • Daffy says:

      Speaking of education, no, it doesn’t ‘beg the question’ it ‘raises the question’. To beg the question is to assume the conclusion to be proven.

  • ChrisPer says:

    My own kids are on this treadmill – or fallen off it. Initial fail then six years later a Bachelors, then a Masters or PhD…. and its just an entry ticket to compete with hundreds applying for the jobs they want.
    It used to be said that you needed to have done your best work by 30 or you wouldn’t get that Nobel or first million. Now those highest-potential years from 18 to 30 – critical growth and base earning years – are consumed by the greedy higher education sector, who in return give a near-valueless ticket to play.

  • lbloveday says:

    Quote: Many in that generation, such as I, were the first in their families to go to university, and for free, on such as Commonwealth and Teachers’ College scholarships.
    Ditto – No way could we have afforded fees despite my after-school job at Woolworths – 5 kids (me the eldest, youngest 4yo), father a foreman at GMH, mother a home-maker – but I was “the clever boy” so got a studentship and graduated in 1968 (BAppSc presented by Mark Oliphant!).

  • David Isaac says:

    Tertiary education as presently constituted serves three main purposes: impoverishment of the middle class, suppression of its fertility and indoctination and enforcement of liberal multi-racialism especially for those of European heritage whose removal from positions of power is most important to the global ruling class.

  • Brian Boru says:

    The Higher Education “industry” suffers from the same problem as the Aboriginal “industry”. It is managed for the benefit of the “industry” not of those it is supposed to serve or the Nation.

  • BalancedObservation says:

    Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah.

    What a timely article. So rare to read something with such insights into our problematic tertiary education system. Without detracting from the article so much of what is said is pretty common sense.

    That makes it all the more alarming that such articles and insights are so rare to see. It’s a very serious worry.

  • BalancedObservation says:

    With poor oversight, unclear and just plainly erroneous objectives any bureaucracy will start moving towards serving its own interests. It’s own interests will become more and more of a focus.
    I’m far less optimist about academics seeing the light and suddenly starting to stand up for the true ideals and purpose of tertiary education than Barry Spurr is. And I recognise he’s not all that optimistic either.
    Why do I say that?
    Firstly I know a good bit about bureaucracies.
    Secondly this has been going on too long and the profile of existing academics will be more in line with what is going on. Academics who share the existing twisted ethos will be more likely to be recruited, and the more senior academics already there will have benefited from playing the game and adhering to the twisted ethos. Many would owe their advancement to that. And the longer you play the game the more likely you are to become the game.
    Thirdly the real power is very often not with the academic side of the tertiary institution anyway. If it were it would be less likely we would have reached this stage.
    The only hope is – horror or horrors for academic institutional autonomy – external intervention from an insightful government. Looking at the government and the opposition that’s highly unlikely.
    Also there’s a remote chance the people will get tired of the status quo but that’s unlikely while we keep digging holes in the ground that even produce budget surpluses for a spendthrift government.
    The tertiary education sector also probably takes too small a slice of tax revenues anyway. Look at the NDIS which is the second biggest threat to the budget after interest on debt. (The NDIS used to be the biggest budget threat before Labor’s economic mismanagement led to higher than necessary interest rates).
    And there seems to be no widespread public concern over the NDIS – enough to change any votes. The one person with the biggest concern is Bill Shorten who has it like an albatross around his neck and his leadership ambitions. There’s poetic justice in that since he was the political architect of the scheme.
    The best chance that I see of the problem being fixed is a miracle.

  • BalancedObservation says:

    It’s even worse than Barry Spurr has painted it. And his article is a pretty comprehensive litany of major problems.
    From my experience we are paying conservatively at least 30% too much on tertiary administration positions. So of the education dollar about 30% is wasted or could be spent on improving courses rather than on desk jobs.
    Now that’s not simply a cost concern. It also means there are far too many people in administrative positions. They have to find something to do. Not necessarily something constructive, just something to do. That often means producing roadblocks and administrative compliance requirements for academics which the additional staff can keep themselves busy overseeing.
    That can be a further problem when it also leads to antagonism between academics and administrative staff. Such antagonism degrades overall institutional performance.
    Reducing administrative staff by 30% could be easily achieved. How do I know? I’ve done it with the help of highly competent staff.
    Taking into account what I said above, overall performance would actually be improved. I saw it happen.
    Barry Spurr did cover the problem of dumbing down courses by saying participating with people struggling to manage makes it harder for those who are actually suited to be in a university.
    And he also said it demanded easier and easier courses so that a larger number from the bigger and bigger student base can get through.
    But a smaller tighter number of better qualified students would be demanding higher standard courses. A more sophisticated style of consumer demands better products or in this instance better courses.
    We get an idea of how bad things have got not only from the increased dropout rates but from demands for private in university tutoring which Jason Clare is meeting with a substantial funds allocation. Not normal university tutoring but the sort of tutoring given to students at school who are floundering. If you need that you should not be in a university at all.
    Encouraging people into university who would be better suited to work as qualified tradespeople leads to a shortage of skilled tradespeople and contributes to the lowering of our already poor productivity as a nation.
    But it’s not only universities who are drawing these people away from trades where they are desperately needed, TAFE a main trade educator also does it.
    They’re part of the credential creep game too. Not unlike higher and higher ( paper at least) qualifications are required for jobs, TAFE don’t like to be left behind , they’ve got into the higher status degree producing game with degree courses often not related at all to the trades.
    If I had to name a single change that could be done to improve the situation it would be to place a cap on university places consistent with those suitably equipped to attend university. Admissions on merit only. Pretty simple but virtually politically impossible. Expectations have been raised too high already and those with the power in these institutions have too big a vested interest in the status quo.
    Not to mention our current breed of small target politicians would be far too scared to dramatically reduce university places.
    With dramatically reduced numbers we could afford to make university free again. Why do that? Because we can’t afford to exclude any of our most talented students from university. Those talented students who are very good but can’t afford a degree and not quite good enough to get a scholarship to pay all their way. We need as many of our better equipped students at university as possible.

  • Geoff Sherrington says:

    We now have a class of Uni staff named “Administrator” whose salaries can be high, thus a need for the Uni to have a big income stream.
    The push to populate Aussie Unis with Aussie youngsters was/is to avoid criticism about big increases in fee-paying foreign student numbers. Imagine the outcry if only foreign numbers were raised to the large numbers we see in the commercial education factories that we see today. Keep Unis elite and for the fundamental advancement of knowledge,please.
    Geoff S

  • Peter Marriott says:

    I agree Geoff.

  • Paul from Sydney says:

    Not mentioned is the obsession of any profession to win more status by demanding more and more qualifications to enter the field. And employers are overly impressed by multiple degrees. Because more time at uni somehow makes them more clever and rigorous. We know it’s nonsense. 95% of what you need to do a job is learned on the job. People don’t become more capable with longer degrees. It just delays the maturity they would get from entering the workplace. And of course delays them having children all the while exposing them to more university-generated leftist doctrine

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