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Wednesday, 16 August 1972
Page: 141


Senator WRIGHT - On 25th May 1972, Senator Davidson asked me a question without notice as follows:

Has the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science seen reports of statements by Dr Charles Williams, the head of the University of Sydney counselling service, that hundreds of thousands of dollars are being spent on health and counselling services to prevent students cracking up under pressure and, further, that sums spent in this way are rising each year? Can the Minister indicate whether these statements are correct? If they are, will he arrange for a research programme to be undertaken in this area of student need?

In my reply I said that I did not think that the matter had been under examination by the Minister for Education and Science but would refer the honourable senator's question to the Minister for his consideration.

The Minister for Education and Science has now provided me with the following advice:

I have seen the statement referred to by Senator Davidson. University students have always experienced some difficulties in adjusting from school work to university work. The majority of students have been able to make the transition without any ill effects. However, there are always some students who have adjustment difficulties of varying magnitude and in an attempt to overcome these difficulties, most universities have set up counselling and health services.

The apparent increase in the number affected may not mean that there is a greater propensity for students to experience transitional difficulties but rather that the growth of counselling and health services has resulted in more students seeking assistance than was formerly the case.

The Australian Universities Commission is aware of the pressures faced by students and is likely to comment on the provision of counselling and health services in its Fifth Report.







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