Article written for The Conversation by Glenn C. Savage, Conor King, John Fischetti, Megan O’Connell & Perter Goss
The government is spruiking a focus on education to drive innovation in the 2016 budget but it has put off higher education reforms in favour of further consultation.
The higher education reforms, which included the deregulation of university fees, were announced in the 2014 budget and will now be delayed for another year.
The total spend on education in this year’s budget is A$33.7 billion. This includes an agreement to fund schools to the tune of $1.2 billion between 2018 and 2020, but is contingent on education reform from the states and territories in all sectors including literacy and numeracy, teaching and school leadership and student outcomes.
There will also be $118.2 million over two years for students with a disability, the funding targeted to schools with the greatest need.
However, there are also cuts of $152.2 million over four years to the Higher Education Participation Program, which funds universities to bring in students from the lowest socio-economic levels and $20.9 million over the next four years to the Promotion of Excellence in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education Program.