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Speech notes for the Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, Senator Susan Ryan, at the graduation ceremony, Armidale CAE



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5 Π

UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL 11.am

31 March 1984

SPEECH NOTES FOR THE M INISTER FOR EDUCATION AND

YOUTH A FFA IR S, SENATOR SUSAN RYAN, AT THE GRADUATION CEREMONY

ARMIDALE CAE ON 31 MARCH 198H

I AM DELIGHTED TO BE HERE TODAY TO SHARE WITH YOU YOUR SENSE OF

SATISFACTION IN GRADUATING FROM THIS FINE I N S T I T U T I O N . IT IS

AN OCCASION WHICH GIVES SATISFACTION TO EVERYONE - STUDENTS,

STAFF, PARENTS AND FRIENDS. AS MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND

YOUTH AFFAIRS, AS A PARENT AND FORMER TUTOR, I SHARE THIS

SATISFACTION.

THIS OCCASION REPRESENTS A MAJOR PERSONAL AND POLITICAL

COMMITMENT. OUR GOVERNMENT IS COMMITTED TO IMPROVING

EDUCATIONAL STANDARDS THROUGHOUT ALL LEVELS OF EDUCATION IN

AUSTRALIA. WE ARE DETERMINED TO GIVE MORE YOUNG AUSTRALIANS

ACCESS TO THIS IMPROVED EDUCATION. WE PARTICULARLY WANT TO

GIVE MORE AUSTRALIANS THE BENEFIT OF HIGHER EDUCATION.

TERTIARY AND POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION AND TRAINING ARE OF VITAL

IMPORTANCE TO AUSTRALIA'S FUTURE. AS A NATION WE COMPARE

POORLY WITH OTHER OECD COUNTRIES. OUR PARTICIPATION RATES HAVE

BEEN TOO LOW AND ACCESS BIASED TOWARDS THE MORE ADVANTAGED.

THE HAWKE GOVERNMENT IS WORKING TO REDRESS THE SITUATION. IN

IMPROVING PARTICIPATION RATES, OUR COLLEGES OF ADVANCED

EDUCATION HAVE A CRUCIAL ROLE. I AM PLEASED TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE

SUCCESS OF ARMIDALE COLLEGE OF ADVANCED EDUCATION, ONE OF OUR

OUTSTANDING COLLEGES.

2 .

AS ONE OF OUR FIRST ACTS OF GOVERNMENT LAST YEAR, WE STOPPED

THE ENFORCED AMALGAMATION OF THIS COLLEGE WITH THE UNIVERSITY

OF NEW ENGLAND PROPOSED BY THE PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT. THERE I S ,

OF COURSE, A NEED FOR THE COLLEGE TO WORK IN GREATER

CO-OPERATION WITH THE UNIVERSITY, BUT IT CAN ALSO LOOK TO AREAS

IN WHICH IT CAN MAKE A UNIQUE CONTRIBUTION IN SERVICING THE

REGION. YOU CAN BE PROUD OF THE COLLEGE'S RECORD IN THIS

RESPECT. I CAN SAY WITH CONFIDENCE THAT IT HAS RESPONDED TO

RAPID AND MARKED CHANGES IN COMMUNITY NEEDS AND ATTITUDES TO

EDUCATION. IT HAS DONE SO PARTICULARLY WITH REGARD TO NURSING

EDUCATION, ABORIGINAL EDUCATION AND THE EDUCATIONAL NEEDS OF

MIGRANTS.

I WILL BE SPEAKING LATER TODAY IN MORE DETAIL ABOUT THE

COLLEGE'S ACHIEVEMENTS IN ABORIGINAL EDUCATION WHEN I

OFFICIALLY OPEN THE ABORIGINAL STUDIES CENTRE. I WOULD LIKE

EVEN HERE, HOWEVER, TO COMMEND THE COLLEGE FOR THIS

I N I T I A T I V E . I BELIEVE IT WILL BECOME ONE OF THE STRENGTHS OF

THE ARMIDALE COLLEGE OF ADVANCED EDUCATION. BY EXTENDING AND

EXPANDING SUCH SERVICES, THE COLLEGE WILL REMAIN AN EFFECTIVE

PROVIDER OF EDUCATION FOR FUTURE REGIONAL NEEDS.

3 .

IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT IN A PLACE LIKE ARMIDALE, THE

COLLEGE SERVICES NOT JUST THE TOWNSHIP, BUT THE WHOLE NEW

ENGLAND REGION, EXTENDING EVEN FURTHER TO OTHER REGIONS FOR

EXTERNAL STUDENTS. IT IS PART OF A STATEWIDE NETWORK OF

INSTITUTIONS. WITHIN THIS NETWORK, AND IN CONSULTATION WITH

THE HIGHER EDUCATION BOARD, IT MUST SELECT A RANGE OF COURSES

WHICH WILL BE SUITABLE FOR AND RELEVANT TO THE NEEDS OF ITS

STUDENTS.

ONE SUCH EXAMPLE IS THE FIELD OF MULTICULTURAL EDUCATION. IN

THE EARLY SEVENTIES A VARIETY OF RESEARCH REPORTS DEMONSTRATED

A GREAT NEED FOR QUALIFIED TEACHERS OF ENGLISH AS A SECOND

LANGUAGE. ARMIDALE COLLEGE OF ADVANCED EDUCATION LED THE

ACADEMIC FIELD WITH ITS DEVELOPMENT OF THE DIPLOMA IN MIGRANT

TEACHING.

THE HAWKE GOVERNMENT IS COMMITTED TO THE NOTION OF AUSTRALIA AS

A MULTICULTURAL SOCIETY. WE WILL BE PURSUING POLICIES WHICH

GIVE EFFECT TO THAT NOTION. ONLY THIS WEEK, I ANNOUNCED THE

MEMBERSHIP OF THE NATIONAL ADVISORY AND COORDINATING COMMITTEE

ON MULTICULTURAL EDUCATION. THIS COMMITTEE WILL ADVISE THE

GOVERNMENT ON I N I T I A T I V E S IT MIGHT TAKE IN THIS F IE L D . I AM

SURE MANY OF ITS RECOMMENDATIONS WILL COMPLEMENT AND REINFORCE

THE ADVANCES IN THIS AREA ALREADY MADE IN THIS COLLEGE.

THE FEDERAL LABOR GOVERNMENT RECOGNISES THE VITAL CONTRIBUTION

TERTIARY EDUCATION CAN MAKE TO ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL WELL-BEING.

IT IS CONCERNED TO EXPAND AND ENHANCE THAT CONTRIBUTION.

THIS RECOGNITION, HOWEVER, DOES NOT MEAN THAT WE ARE PREPARED

SIMPLY TO POUR VAST AMOUNTS OF MONEY INTO TERTIARY EDUCATION

WITHOUT Q U ALIF IC A TIO N. I KNOW THERE IS AN EXPECTATION THAT,

NOW A LABOR GOVERNMENT IS IN POWER, THE TAP WILL BE TURNED ON

AND THE FUNDS WILL FLOW. UNFORTUNATELY. ECONOMIC CIRCUMSTANCES

WILL NOT PERMIT LAVISH SPENDING. NOR IS IT DESIRABLE.

THERE W I L L , OF COURSE, BE SOME MORE MONEY. BUT WE WILL NOT

PRESIDE OVER AN UNCONTROLLED EXPANSION OF THE TERTIARY SYSTEM

AS OCCURRED IN THE 19 60 S . THAT HUGE EXPANSION TOOK PLACE OVER

A VERY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME, WITH SOME UNDESIRABLE

CONSEQUENCES. THIS ENSURED INSTEAD OF DESIRABLE D IV ER SIT Y , A

RATHER STULTIFYING UNIFORMITY OF VALUES AND P R IOR IT IE S AMONG

ALL EDUCATIONAL IN S TITU TIO N S . IT ALSO PRODUCED THE MANY

STAFFING PROBLEMS THAT NOWADAYS BESET OUR UNIVERSITIES AND

COLLEGES. AND IT CLEARLY DEMONSTRATED THAT A SUDDEN INJECTION

OF LARGE AMOUNTS OF MONEY, CANNOT, IN IT S E L F , SOLVE THE

PROBLEMS OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN THIS COUNTRY.

5 .

WHILE THERE WILL BE SOME MORE MONEY, IT WILL NEED TO BE MORE

CAREFULLY TARGETTED THAN IN THE PAST. HIGHER EDUCATION

INSITUTIONS WILL ALSO HAVE TO ACCEPT THE FACT THAT THE DAYS OF

GREATER PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY HAVE ARRIVED. THEY WILL HAVE TO

PUT GREATER EFFORT INTO THE EFFICIENT MANAGEMENT OF THEIR

RESOURCES. IN SOME SMALL PART, THE CUTS IN FUNDING SUFFERED

DURING THE FRASER YEARS WERE THE FAULT OF UNIVERSITIES AND

COLLEGES THEMSELVES. SO, TOO, TO SOME EXTENT, WAS THE FALL-OFF

IN STUDENT NUMBERS AND THE DECLINE IN PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR OUR

TERTIARY INSTITUTIO NS. THE SENIOR ADMINISTRATORS IN OUR

UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES HAVE ONLY RARELY SPOKEN OUT ON POLICY

ISSUES OF CONCERN TO THE WIDER COMMUNITY. THEY HAVE EVEN MORE

RARELY GONE OUT OF THEIR WAY TO INVOLVE THE COMMUNITY IN THEIR

A C T IV I T IE S . AS A RESULT, THERE IS A CONSIDERABLE MISMATCH

BETWEEN THE A C T IV IT IE S OF INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND

THE NEEDS OF THE COMMUNITY GENERALLY.

I WOULD, THEREFORE, ASK THOSE OF YOU HERE TODAY TO QUESTION,

SERIOUSLY, BOTH THE FUNCTION AND STRUCTURE OF OUR HIGHER

EDUCATION SYSTEM. TO GAIN AND MAINTAIN POLITICAL SUPPORT,

HIGHER EDUCATION MUST BE SEEN TO CONTRIBUTE TO NATIONAL

ECONOMIC RECOVERY AND SOCIAL EQUITY.

6 .

IN A RECENT PAPER, PROFESSOR LOGAN OF MONASH UNIVERSITY POINTED

OUT HOW IMPORTANT IT WAS FOR HIGHER EDUCATION TO CONTRIBUTE TO

THE PROCESS OF, FOR EXAMPLE, RESTRUCTURING INDUSTRY. HE ALSO

HIGHLIGHTED HOW IT COULD ASSIST OUR ASSUMPTION OF A GREATER

ROLE IN THE A S IA N /P A C IF IC REGION. THESE ARE IMPORTANT EXAMPLES

OF THE TYPE OF THINKING I WOULD WELCOME FROM OTHERS IN THE

COMMUNITY ABOUT THE FUTURE ROLE OF OUR HIGHER EDUCATION SYSTEM.

PROFESSOR LOGAN'S SUGGESTIONS SHOULD NOT SURPRISE US. OTHER

COUNTRIES HAVE FOR YEARS ATTEMPTED TO INTEGRATE THE FUNCTION OF

UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES WITH WIDER, NATIONAL P R IO R IT IE S . IN

THE UNITED KINGDOM, THE UNIVERSITIES GRANTS COMMITTEE ADVISES

THE GOVERNMENT ON UNIVERSITY FUNDING, TAKING INTO ACCOUNT

NATIONAL NEEDS. IN THE UNITED STATES, ALSO, RESEARCH ACTIVITY

IS MORE CLOSELY ORIENTED TO NATIONAL NEEDS THAN HAS OFTEN BEEN

THE CASE IN AUSTRALIA.

IN SHORT, I SUGGEST THAT UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES CANNOT

AFFORD TO BE DETACHED AND ISOLATED INSTITUTIONS. GREATER

NUMBERS OF YOUNG PEOPLE ARE NOW ENROLLING IN THE SYSTEM, AND

THIS GOVERNMENT IS DETERMINED THAT THE INSTITUTIONS SHOULD

ENROL MORE STUDENTS OF DIVERSE SOCIO-ECONOMIC BACKGROUNDS.

FOR TOO LONG, WOMEN, THE CHILDREN OF ORDINARY WORKING PEOPLE,

MEMBERS OF SOME ETHNIC GROUPS, RURAL YOUTH AND, MOST STARKLY,

ABORIGINES, HAVE BEEN CONSIDERABLY UNDER-REPRESENTED IN OUR

TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS.

7 .

THEY HAVE BEEN UNEQUALLY DISTRIBUTED ACROSS COURSES, AND

INSTITUTIONS. THEY HAVE BEEN DEPRIVED OF MUCH THAT SOCIETY

OFFERS. AND OUR SOCIETY HAS BEEN DEPRIVED OF THE CONTRIBUTION

THEY COULD MAKE. OUR GOVERNMENT INTENDS TO CHANGE THIS STATE

OF AFFAIRS.

AS A GOVERNMENT, WE ARE LOOKING TO THE FUTURE AND ARE CONCERNED

ABOUT A NUMBER OF OTHER AREAS WHICH DESERVE FURTHER

INVESTIGATION.

ACCORDINGLY, I HAVE ASKED THE TERTIARY EDUCATION COMMISSION AND

THE SCHOOLS COMMISSION TO PREPARE ADVICE FOR NEW DIRECTIONS IN

EDUCATION. IT WILL ANALYSE THE CURRENT SUPPLY AND DEMAND FOR

HIGHER EDUCATION PLACES. IT WILL EXAMINE THE EXTENT TO WHICH

THERE IS AN UNSATISFIED DEMAND FROM QUALIFIED STUDENTS, AND THE

EXTENT TO WHICH INSTITUTIONS CAN REDIRECT THEIR RESOURCES TO

MEET THIS DEMAND.

IN TEACHER EDUCATION, THE GOVERNMENT BELIEVES THAT THERE IS

CONFUSION OVER THE RELATIVE RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE VARIOUS

PARTIES IN THE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF TEACHERS. THE

TERTIARY EDUCATION COMMISSION WILL EXAMINE HOW THESE MIGHT BE

BETTER DEFINED AND COORDINATED.

WE ARE ALSO CONSIDERING THE FUTURE DEVELOPMENT OF BASIC NURSE

TRAINING ARRANGEMENTS. THIS WILL BE OF PARTICULAR INTEREST TO

THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE INVOLVED WITH THE VARIOUS DIPLOMAS IN THE

NURSING FIELD CURRENTLY OFFERED BY THIS COLLEGE.

8 .

THE COMMISSION WILL EXAMINE THE CURRENT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN

THE THREE TERTIARY SECTORS AND PROVIDE ADVICE ON ANY

DUPLICATION OF EFFORT AND RESOURCES.

OUR PRIMARY OBJECTIVE IN ALL THIS IS TO ACHIEVE AN IMPROVEMENT

NOT ONLY IN THE QUANTITY OF EDUCATION, BUT ITS QUALITY AND

RELEVANCE.

I GO BACK TO MY EARLIER COMMENT THAT THE ARMIDALE COLLEGE OF

ADVANCED EDUCATION HAS BEEN A LEADER IN THE TERTIARY EDUCATION

SECTOR. I AM SURE THAT IT WILL CONTINUE TO PLAY AN ACTIVE ROLE

IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF FUTURE DIRECTIONS.

YOU, AS GRADUATES, PARENTS AND FRIENDS HAVE BENEFITTED FROM

THIS. YOU HAVE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO PARTICIPATE IN HIGHER

EDUCATION .

MY WARMEST CONGRATUATIONS TO ALL OF YOU GRADUATING HERE TODAY.

I AM SURE YOU RECOGNISE THAT THE QUALIFICATIONS YOU HAVE

OBTAINED PLACE AN OBLIGATION ON YOU TO GIVE SOMETHING BACK TO

THE COMMUNITY IN RETURN FOR THE SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNT OF MONEY IT

INVESTED IN YOUR EDUCATION. I AM SURE MANY OF YOU WILL GO ON

TO EXCEL IN YOUR CHOSEN FIELDS. I WISH ALL OF YOU WELL. I

ALSO HAVE LITTLE DOUBT THAT YOUR KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS WILL BE

AMONG AUSTRALIA'S MOST VALUABLE RESOURCES IN THE CHALLENGING

YEARS AHEAD.