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Federal Government sets a goal by degrees -

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Reporter: Alexandra Kirk

ELEANOR HALL: The Federal Education Minister said today that by 2025, she wants 40 per cent of
young Australians to have a university degree.

Julia Gillard was responding to the Bradley Review of Higher Education which called for an
injection of $6-billion to overhaul the sector.

But while she was sympathetic to the goals the Minister would not commit just yet to the price tag.

In Canberra, Alexandra Kirk reports.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The Federal Government's 'education revolution' is on its way, albeit more slowly,
now, thanks to the global recession.

JULIE GILLARD: The Bradley Review was initiated in easier economic times. Since then we have seen
the global financial crisis, the global recession and its impact on our economy including its huge
impacts for government revenue.

We have got to be very careful with every government dollar in the current times.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister, Julia Gillard, says it's time for
major structural reform of the higher education system and today she's outlined the principles
underpinning the Government's overhaul.

Broadly following Professor Denise Bradley's findings; Professor Bradley and her team pushed for 40
per cent of young Australians to have at least an undergraduate degree by 2020.

Ms Gillard says the Government accepts the challenge.

JULIE GILLARD: I announce today that our ambition is that by 2025 40 per cent of all 25 to 34 year
olds will have a qualification at Bachelor level or above.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: That's five years slower than recommended.

The Bradley Review also proposed a voucher style model - shifting from funding institutions to
funding students - letting them drive demand. The Government's accepted the broad thrust of the
idea but stopped a bit short.

JULIE GILLARD: All universities will be funded on the basis of student demand from 2012. This means
that we will fund a Commonwealth supported place for all domestic students accepted into a
eligible, accredited higher education course at a recognised public higher education provider.

Universities will not receive funding for places they do not deliver.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The funding floor will be maintained this year and the next two, to help
under-enrolled universities adapt to the new system and ensure unis don't grow too quickly at the
expense of quality.

JULIE GILLARD: And the current cap on over enrolment will be raised from five to 10 per cent from
2010 and then wholly removed in 2012.

Let me be clear about one important point. This is not a voucher. Students will not be receiving a
set dollar entitlement to be re redeemed at an institution of their choice.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The Government won't reveal how much it will spend until Budget night - the Bradley
Review urged an extra $6-billion boost. But the Minister will flesh out more details on education
equity and the TAFE system over the next few days.

To ensure taxpayers get value for money there's to be a new national regulatory and quality agency
to accredit providers and audit the standard of university degrees.

JULIE GILLARD: The era of directives about what Australians can study and where, and the cultural
war waged by politicians against subject offerings, course content and research subject matter, are
over. If I could characterise this system in just four words it would be this 'politicians out,
students in'.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The vice-chancellor of the Australian National University, Professor Ian Chubb
likes what he hears so far.

IAN CHUBB: I think broadly Alex it is the right direction to take.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Are you disappointed the Government hasn't put a dollar figure now onto it?

IAN CHUBB: Well, yes but I am not surprised. I mean I have been saying all along that I think that
we could expect to wait until the Budget to see if any dollars come. But I think what we wanted was
a vision and I think that, you know, that plus the other speeches that the Minister today referred
to will paint the vision out for us.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Do you think that mergers will be inevitable now as a result of the changes?

IAN CHUBB: My personal view is that structural arrangements between institutions should change and
it should be improved. Now whether that goes to a full merger or whether it goes to memoranda and
pathway agreements and exchanges and cross-crediting and all of those sorts of things, I think is a
very important part of the agenda for the future.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Do you accept that the global financial crisis will mean that the extra funding to
the tertiary sector will have to be spread out over a much longer time?

IAN CHUBB: It depends on how long and how much (laughs). So you could make some very significant
inroads to some of what is needed by a reasonable injection relatively soon and let it grow. I
mean, whilst the dollars aren't attached, the implications are there that dollars will have to flow
to support that growth.

ELEANOR HALL: Professor Ian Chubb is the Vice-Chancellor Of Australian National University. He was
speaking to Alexandra Kirk.