It was a very sad day for education in Australia when the Hawke government introduced the Higher Education Contribution Scheme in 1989.
Private school students celebrated when their rich parents paid their university fees upfront while many public school students were plunged into long-term debt, especially if they lived in rural areas and had the burden of additional accommodation expenses. At this moment youth unemployment is at an unacceptable level, particularly in disadvantaged areas, and so it makes sense to give every young Australian at least one free kick at a tertiary qualification.
Maurie Mulheron (Education, February 16) foreshadowed that this edition of the journal would carry Federation’s commentary on the parties’ policies before the NSW election. I researched their education policies today and find that the Greens are the only party totally committed to free education at school and tertiary level.