Education Officer’s Report – Week 8, Sem 1, 2016

Another dire week for higher education in Australia. At USYD the forces of evil continue to press for staff and curriculum cuts. With the federal Budget approaching and a 20% cut to higher education funding, university management’s corporate agenda is only encouraged.

Management is cautious of the wins made by student and staff united campaigns over the years whether protecting jobs and knocking back proposed cuts. They want to silently cut back! But we have our ears to the ground. We suggested that the restructure and faculty mergers was a way for management to cut down on the courses offered at USYD and this reality is now proven with restructuring in biology well underway cutting down the first year courses offered from four to two.
While cutting back in some areas the University’s plans also threaten to increase the work load of its staff. The University has been unable to respond to critiques made of the new B.Advance Studies from the with the Arts faculty.

Not only is the new degree program designed to decrease enrollments in current three year programs inorder to justify future moves a compulsory four year degree structure, but its associated new 4000 level units place a huge burden on smaller and medium sized departments. They simply ask ‘how can we provide 4000 level units with the current funding and staffing arrangements’?

History suggests the likely solution will not be to increase the amount of staff and funding for the departments but to shift full time workers to casual and teaching only positions.

So what can we do about it? We do what we always do, we stand up and we fight back!

With our education under attack by both management and the liberals, the Education Officers have been busy planning the May 11 post budget rally, holding working bees and handing out flyers. But we need your help so make sure you get over to the Education Action Group weekly meetings 2pm Tuesdays on the
Law Lawns (if lost give me a message on 0432 236 668).

While the University has its spending priorities subordinate not to education quality but a competition for budget surpluses and prestige we need to be clear that the problem stems from federal policy. The government should provide a fully funded education system and needs to move away from neoliberal measures like fee deregulation, funding cuts and hiking up student contribution fees. On May 11 get to fisher library and march with us against fee deregulation’s $100,000 degrees, against a reduction in the HECs threshold and demand a free and fully funded education system!

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