Education crisis: no room for students


NSW rejections rise

By Michael Tardif

SYDNEY — The number of rejected NSW applicants for tertiary education increased again in 1993. Those refused access this year numbered 45,000. This was an increase of 3000 on last year's figures.

For the 94,000 applications lodged, the University Admissions Centre was in a position to only offer 50,000 places. Clearly the demand for higher education is rising, yet at the same time federal government funding is decreasing in real terms.

In the past decade there has been a shift towards privatisation of education, tying key areas of funding and research to the needs of business. Further shifts in this direction promised by both the Liberals and Labor will only deepen the crisis.

30,000 in Victoria

MELBOURNE — According to estimates by the National Union of Students, 30,000 people in Victoria missed out on university places. The Australian Vice Chancellors' Committee will publish precise figures when they become available.

This year's round of offers, coming in an election year, includes 20,000 extra places nationally after negligible growth last year.

WA applications double places

PERTH — More than 19,000 people wishing to study at tertiary institutions in Western Australia have been denied places.

The Tertiary Institutions Service Centre (TISC) received 12,794 applications from school leavers and another 8690 from non-school leavers. Only 10,500 received places.

This is despite the fact that the prerequisites for application have been raised from three year 12 subjects to four — an attempt to mask the real number of those who missed out.

According to Malcolm Goss, assistant executive director of TISC, there were 20,000 applicants for Technical and Further Education. Only 11,800 were offered full-time places.

12,000 Qld school leavers miss out

By Bill Mason

BRISBANE — Some 12,000 Queensland school leavers out of the 28,000 who applied for tertiary institution entry in 1993 have been refused places, according to figures from the Queensland Tertiary

While 3000 more places were offered in the first round than last year, thousands more missed out because of an increased demand for higher education from school graduates under pressure from the unemployment crisis.

The new final year placement system was found wanting as many students found they had not been admitted to courses they expected, and others were offered places in courses they had not even applied for.

State education minister Pat Comben was forced into an embarrassing back-flip when he had to withdraw earlier backing for a plan to introduce generalised opening up of the university system for fee-paying students.

Another academic "expert" called for 20% of tertiary students to be failed to provide more university places.

"The answer to the education crisis is not to bring in privatisation and full fees, or to fail students, but to massively expand public higher education facilities", Brisbane Resistance organiser Sean Healy told Green Left Weekly.

"Tertiary education, virtually a prerequisite for a job these days, should be a right, not a privilege, for all young people.

"Let the wealthy corporations, which use the skills of graduates to make their super-profits, pay for the added costs of freely available, public higher education", Healy said.

34,000 for 10,000 places in SA

By Adam Hanieh

ADELAIDE — 34,000 people applied for only 10,000 tertiary places at Adelaide, Flinders and SA universities.

Only 3000 places in TAFE were available. Current figures are not yet available on how many TAFE applicants missed out, but last year 3000 were turned back.

Last year a 20% increase in year 13 enrolments was recorded. This year it is estimated to be around a 30% increase. SA students have the option of repeating year 12, which is called year 13.

ACT: one in four gets in

By Liam Hazell

CANBERRA — Only 25% of ACT school leavers gained a place in either of the ACT's two universities, the Australian National University and the University of Canberra, this year.

ACT students filled 37% of the places offered to school leavers by the aces had been offered, a small decrease on last year.

Seventy-one per cent of these places had been allocated to school leavers, with mature-age students having the next largest number of places.

The Tertiary Entrance Rank (TER) for the Bachelor of Science at the ANU increased from 69.75 in 1992 to 80.4, while the TER for a Bachelor of Arts at the ANU increased from 69.75 to 74.5, the same TER as is required for students wishing to do an economics/commerce degree.

The director of the Australian Vice-Chancellors' Committee, Frank Hambly, estimated that approximately 50,000 students had sought tertiary places in NSW and the ACT this year, although precise figures would not be available before mid-March.