From increasing the fees for Humanities students to university funds cuts, tertiary education in Australia is facing a great struggle that will affect current students and future generations.
Educational reforms in Australia have now exceeded the federal level and have impacted many of us. At Curtin, a strategy of teaching was introduced in 2020 which included replacing all lectures with multiple 15-minute short video clips and other forms of online materials. It also ensured a 30% online and 70% face-to-face teaching element in every unit (whilst no COVID-19 restrictions were in place). This change has affected both students and staff across the campus.
The Curtin Student Guild opposed such changes in learning by launching a feedback portal and organising social media campaigns. They also demanded an extension on the University’s consultation period which will now run until the end of April, 2021.
“I speak to nursing students and they’re saying they don’t feel ready to go into the workforce and do their job. We brought this information to the University and they said ‘nursing students are always complaining about something’. [It’s] dismissive. The University is completely disconnected from what students are experiencing in the classroom” said Guild President, Jesse Zambrano.
President of the Postgraduate Student Committee, May Majimbi, said research students spending five to seven years on their studies could not guarantee a job after their study.
“Cuts on education aren’t just for the course you’re doing, it’s also the entire research workforce that depends on funding.”
This fight not only limits domestic students but also international ones. International Student Committee President, Cristian Moreno, said it is not fair for international students who are away from their families and struggling with basic commodities such as food and rent.
“While I’m paying 80,000 Australian dollars every year, the support we have received from the university is basically nothing.”
Not only are students in various degrees affected, the cuts also affect staff across campus. Lecturers are doing extra managerial tasks which directly affect the quality of and time given to their teaching, resulting in students learning low-quality and outdated lectures.
This change in education has impacted students and staff in all sorts of ways. If you have a voice waiting to be heard, there are student consultation workshops across the month of April starting on the 13th, where you can learn more about the proposal and have your say.