Thursday, November 24, 2005

American style education

"[Australian] Federal Education Minister Brendan Nelson wants specialised graduate school universities, with more public funding directed to regional and outer-suburban universities. The Opposition has accused the Government of trying to force universities down the path of an American-style, two-tier higher education system" (ABC news online).

Why does Australia always feel the need to copy the USA? Is the American system such a good thing? What happens to "regional and outer-suburban universities"? Would they, as Nelson seems to want, become undergraduate teaching only (public funding = teaching), with no research component? How could this possibly be good for regional Australia? What happens when all the academics who actually want to do research move to the cities or overseas?

I don't know, but my gut feeling is it's not a good thing. Maybe if I was at one of the sandstone universities, destined to become a specialised graduate school, I would feel differently. Maybe I need to move back to Berkeley.