Unis forced to prove jobs or lose funding
UNIVERSITIES would have to prove their graduates were actually getting jobs and a decent wage if they want to get more funding as a part of a shake up proposed for the sector.
It is one of four key performance measures expected to be adopted by the Morrison Government, including student satisfaction and achievement, drop-out rates and the enrolment of more remote, rural and disadvantaged students.
Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan strongly backed the measures on Wednesday as he met with university vice-chancellors from around the country.
If adopted, they will come into place by January 1 next year.
Regional universities in Queensland initially opposed performance-based funding, fearing they would be adversely impacted due to higher drop-out rates.
But Central Queensland University vice-chancellor Nick Klomp cautiously welcomed the proposals yesterday, saying it was clear the measures would be adopted.
"The devil is in the detail. I think this is pretty fair and pretty balanced," he told the ABC.
"You have an improvement approach, so instead of just saying everyone needs to get a 90 per cent employment rate, they're looking at each university and saying can you demonstrate you're improving."
University of Queensland vice-chancellor and president Peter Høj said he supported the model.
"The university … is confident UQ's strong record on teaching excellence and student employability would see it well-placed under such arrangements," he said.
Universities which meet the targets, to be set by the government, will be able to get up to an extra 7.5 per cent in funding.
There will be up to $80 million in additional funding shared across the sector from next year, with the amount increasing with population growth.
Opposition education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek said she would look closely at what had been proposed.
"We want our unis to perform well, and in principle we're not against linking some funding to performance," she said.
Mr Tehan said he would work with universities to develop "best practice" guidelines around foreign influence and the contracts several institutions have with the controversial China-owned "Confucius Institute".
"The Government wants to provide a perspective about what we want to see from universities when it comes to those (Confucius Institute) contracts," he said.
It follows fears the institutes could be used to spread propaganda after several universities, including UQ, seemingly gave up control of what was taught in the Chinese language and culture programs.