The Greens launch a new discussion paper on the future of universities – 16 News

Australian Greens Education spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi released a new discussion paper today, University of the Future: Higher Education Built on Democracy and Equality. The policy ideas and research in the article will provide a starting point for richer, more radical discussions about the future of universities.

Library of Parliament data analyzed by the Greens in the report revealed that over the past two decades the number of elected members in the governing bodies of Australian universities has dropped by 43%, from 274 elected members in 2000 to 155 elected members in 2020. As a percentage, more than a third of the positions in these bodies were elected in 2000. By 2020, it’s down to less than a quarter.

The article presents research on the following and proposes a range of policy ideas, discussion questions, and political action:

  • University democracy and restoring campuses for staff and students; Safe operations and reversing temporaryization;
  • promoting student activism and campuses as political spaces;
  • Equality and anti-racism;
  • First Nations knowledge, research and leadership;
  • academic freedom; and
  • Free education and abolition of student debt.

Senator Faruqi said:

“For too long, narrow-minded governments and private interests have dominated the debate about what higher education should look like in this country.

“We have to go back to the drawing board and re-imagine the purpose of universities. And we must take back power from the anti-intellectual governments and private interests currently running the show.

“The corporatization of universities by the government and neoliberal university administration has taken place as staff and student representation in governing bodies has shrunk drastically.

“Universities are at a crossroads. They can continue to progress rapidly towards corporatisation, austerity and job insecurity, or they can chart a new course based on the principles of democracy and equality.

“Universities are a public good. It’s time to start treating them that way once again.”

full report available here.