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Monday, 1 December 1986
Page: 3051

Senator FOREMAN —My question is addressed to the Minister for Education. The Minister will no doubt be aware that some institutes of technology have approached State governments to change the names of their institutions to universities. I ask the Minister: First, what implications will these changes have for these institutions in terms of what they teach? Secondly, what implications would such changes have for government funding to these institutions?

Senator RYAN —The teaching programs of higher education institutions are determined by those institutions. Whether an institution like the Western Australian Institute of Technology will have any different teaching program as a result of being called, at State level, the Curtin University of Technology, is something I cannot comment on yet. That would be a decision for that institution. However, as far as any funding implications by the Commonwealth are concerned, a name change like that made unilaterally by a State government would have no effect whatsoever. Specifically in regard to the Western Australian Institute of Technology, the Commonwealth Government does not intend to change the funding of that institution to the level of university funding which universities so recognised by the Commonwealth attract. I would add, Mr President, that it is a fairly fruitless activity for institutions to put so much energy into achieving name changes when I think what students, employers and serious researchers and scholars are concerned with are the academic standards reached by the institutions and not the names that are attached to them.