Federal Labor are putting too much stock in simplistic league tables to drive quality education and are stalling on a 10 per cent funding increase as the immediate solution to bring down high rates of casualisation, said Greens Senator and higher education spokesperson Lee Rhiannon ("Bare pass mark for uni website's first outing", SMH page 1 today, http://tinyurl.com/cgxlrff).
"Tertiary Education Minister Chris Evans needs to have a long hard look at what MyUniversity reveals - ballooning rates of casualisation and disturbingly high staff-student ratios", said Senator Rhiannon.
"Data from MyUniversity shows escalating rates of casual staff across Australian universities. 27 out of the 39 ranked universities have more than 20% of their workforce casualised.
"Six universities have casualisation rates of more than 30%, including RMIT in Victoria and the University of Notre Dame in WA which have as much as 36.3 per cent and 42.2 per cent of their workforce as casual staff.
"Mr Evans says that MyUniversity will drive improvements in quality but how can the quality be improved when a quarter of staff don't know if they'll have a job in six months?
"All the league tables in the world won't improve quality if there is a big chunk of the workforce in precarious employment and the government don't come to the table with an increase in funding for universities.
"The OECD average for public spending on tertiary education is 1% of GDP but Australia trails well behind, spending only 0.7 per cent of GDP.
"The Greens are calling for an immediate 10 per cent increase in public funding per student, to allow universities to accommodate increased student numbers in the coming year and maintain current standards in teaching and learning", said Senator Rhiannon.