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Student, staff, higher education suffer under Coalition's deregulation agenda

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MEDIA RLEASE 20 November 2013

Student, staff, higher education suffer under Coalition’s deregulation agenda

The Coalition government has caved in to pressure from university Vice-Chancellor’s and completely crippled TEQSA’s role in quality assurance and regulation said Australian Greens spokesperson for higher education, Senator Lee Rhiannon.

Under questioning in Senate Estimates today, officials from TEQSA confirmed that Ministerial directives issued to them have resulted in a reduced regulatory system for higher education providers.

“The Greens don’t believe that strong quality assurance mechanisms and a fair regulatory framework are inconsistent with academic independence innovation,” said Senator Rhiannon.

“On the contrary, we believe that given the billions of dollars flowing from governments to universities there is a need for an agency with teeth to ensure that education quality is being maintained at the highest levels to ensure staff, students and the public are getting the best outcomes.

“It was interesting to note that officials from TEQSA agreed with the proposition that if TEQSA became a ‘light touch’ regulator this would lead to significant concerns from prospective international students and from the Australian public.

“The Greens are concerned that using Ministerial directives the Coalition government has already crippled TEQSA by reducing the regulatory framework for universities and quality assessment for other higher education providers

“Without adequate oversight we’re concerned that quality will continue to suffer, particularly when the Coalition’s planned $2.3 billion cuts to higher education are factored in,” Senator Rhiannon said.

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