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University accountability is important, says Baldwin

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H igher E ducation and E mployment S ervices T H E H O N . P E T E R B A L D W I N II. P.

B84 23/11/92


Public accountability is central to the Federal Government's commitment to effective quality assurance arrangements in Australian universities, the Minister for Higher Education and Employment Services, Peter Baldwin,

said today (23 November).

Mr Baldwin was speaking at the opening of a new building on the Geelong campus of Deakin University.

"Since the Government's White Paper in 1988 the Australian higher education system has expanded rapidly," Mr Baldwin said.

"Concern has been expressed by some in the community that this expansion has led to a decline in quality of the higher education system. The Higher Education Council in its recent report to me, Higher Education, Achieving

Quality, indicated that these concerns do not appear to be well founded. Nevertheless the Government has recognised the need to address such concerns through the development of a quality assurance strategy.

"The strategy emphasises that universities, in return for their resourcing by the community have an obligation to assure students, employers, and the general public that their teaching, learning and research processes and outcomes are of the best possible quality," the Minister


"A university which meets this criteria is much more able to demonstrate that it is providing a positive return to the community, within the context of the mission and goals it has set for itself."

Mr Baldwin expressed his satisfaction that the Government's approach to higher education quality has received a positive reception, including from the

Australian Vice-Chancellors' Committee.

Mr Baldwin described the Government's approach to the quality issue as "the only game in town."


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"The Opposition has clearly implied that it would withdraw the $80 million in funding we are providing as part of our quality assurance mechanism.

"Far from stimulating quality, the Opposition's voucher and fees proposals would hamper the ability of Universities to meet society's requirements for an educated labour force," Mr Baldwin said.

He also stressed that the Government, through its quality assurance strategy, does not intend to undermine diversity within the Australian university system.

"The Government believes that there is no single answer to the question of what constitutes good quality management and assurance," Mr Baldwin said.

"I want to encourage universities to develop, evaluate and, if necessary, improve their quality assurance policies and procedures with reference to their own goals and circumstances, and to the interests of students and

other stakeholders whom they serve."

Media Enquiries:

Sarah Taylor Mr Baldwin's Media Adviser Telephone: (06) 277 7540