Sharing to learn

Tuesday 1 August 2006 10:22 AM

I'm probably an economic simpleton. But I'm puzzled by the polarized ideologies displayed in the debate on the funding of university places. It seems we are at war on the matter. One camp lobs a grenade for Whitlamesque free degrees for all. The other fires back a missile for more paying customers. One declares slightly lower entry scores a fair trade for sector viability. The other prophesies the death of academic integrity.  Is it so silly to suggest a bit of both?  A possible model ...
* all places awarded on academic (or creative) merit;
* universal means-testing;
* the wealthiest pay maximum fees;
* the poorest are fully taxpayer funded;
* most pay some percentage as assessed;
* a loans scheme similar to HECS.
Money would not trump excellence. The rich-poor divide would not be needlessly perpetuated. Education would be both a right and a privilege. Yes, you're probably right .. Far too simple.