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Tuesday, 26 September 1972
Page: 1139

Senator DAVIDSON (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science. 1 refer to a statement made by Dr G. W. Miller, of the University of London Institute of Education, that Australian universities should review the practice of failing a certain percentage of students each year and that the Australian dropout rate was 21 times higher than that in Britain. Has the Minister seen the statement? Has the Department of Education and Science had any communication with the universities on this matter? ls the comparison with the British system a valid one? How does the Australian Government's education programme provide for maximum development at the tertiary level?

Senator WRIGHT (TASMANIA) (Minister for Works) - If I were to respond to the last part of the honourable senator's question, I am afraid that I would be heard with some impatience. I have only a general recollection of the statement that he attributes to the English authority. I remember seeing it or hearing it. I commented last week on the rate of university intake in Australia. My recollection is that the intake of graduates has multiplied by 2 or 21 times over the last 6 or 7 years. As to the explanation for the failure rate of undergraduates, I refer the honourable senator to the discussion on that matter in the report of the Australian Universities Commission. If, when 1 see the question in print, I think there is anything further that needs to be answered, I shall ask the Department of Education and Science to prepare a supplementary answer.

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