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Thursday, 21 May 1970

Mr BEAZLEY (Fremantle) - This legislation enables Monash University and the University of Tasmania to complete 2 halls of residence, which were not the subject of Commonwealth matching grants in the last triennium because, in the words of the Minister for Education and Science (Mr N. H. Bowen) 'unavoidable delays in planning meant that the amount of Slate funds expended on these projects up to 31st December 1969 was insufficient to attract the full Commonwealth grant'. The Opposition naturally supports the grant of $454,930 for Roberts Hall at Monash and $47,241 for the Women's Hall of Residence within the University of Tasmania. The development of universities with huge enrolments raises the question of whether the halls of residence, which are purely dormitories, might not be better if. like Latrobe, a collegiate form of university were created and the halls of residence became colleges.

The colleges of Oxford and Cambridge are largely autonomous. They elect officers, admit undergraduates, administer endowments, and make rules, although they do not determine matriculation standards which are determined by the university as a whole. The university in that sense is a federal corporation including in its government college authorities - the Vice Chancellor enjoys a 3-year term and is always a college head - and in its membership college students. The colleges appoint their own tutors and this does lead to a general excelence of teaching and a close relationship with the students. The university appoints professors, demonstrators and readers and their lectures are open to all students who have the close inspiration of the college tutor and the general contact with the university teachers. There is therefore collegiate teaching and intercollegiate teaching. The colleges are still dominant. I am speaking of Oxford and Cambridge.

I believe that the pressure of numbers will force the universities of this country to become more and more selecstive, to emphasise excellence and to adopt a collegiate form to counter soullessness. These halls of residence will be inadequate in nature. An American educationalist looking at the collegiate organisation or organism had this to say:

The Oxford colleges . . . are . . . interested in ability. Yet the life of the college is so organised that brain power cannot be said to be its besetting passion. . . .

And these men arc distinguished by a certain sanity, which, to be sure, may in part bc the product of social and political experience, but is assuredly in part due to the type of education that the English receive in school and college. We talk in America endlessly of educational technique; there Ls, I grant, something in it. But Oxford and Cambridge establish a personal relationship between the undergraduate and his tutor that is, despite possible personal limitations, the most effective pedagogical relationship in the world.

I believe that the halls of residence can become a way towards this personal relationship between an udergraduate and his teachers, and while welcoming this measure I believe it is time that the Commonwealth lost its preoccupation with the bricks and moi lar of the physical buildings, and began to look at the halls of residence as educational instruments to be perfected, and not as dormitories to be erected. The Opposition supports the Bill.

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