Humanity students are the new cash cows.

Like many Australians I woke to the news that the federal government had stuck it to the universities.

If tearing down statues is the thanks taxpayers get from tipping millions of dollars of subsidies into critical theory courses at university, it’s about time we stop chipping in.

Want to spent three years reading Foucault and dreaming about vandalising Captain Cook statues? Fine, but don’t expect a cent from taxpayers.

Damn commies. Had it coming:

In a different era, the case for publicly subsidising humanities was much stronger. Study of philosophy and literature, for instance, would leave students more worldly, literate and tolerant.

Today, they tend to leave them angry, narrow-minded, and unemployed, and obsessed with viewing everything through the simplistic prism of race, sexuality and gender. The Left lost the economic arguments comprehensively when the Soviet Union collapsed, but their rear guard action in the academy has been highly successful.

Don’t we all love the smell of napalm in the morning? What is best in life Conan? For everyone who hates universities and university educated people, all their Christmases had come at once. (Is it PC to mention Christmas?)

Here is The Minister:

We want our students to receive an education that sets them up for future success –because if graduates succeed, they will power an economic recovery that benefits all Australians.

And, when the economy is facing its greatest economic shock since the Great Depression, success looks like a job.

Projections prepared before the COVID-19 pandemic showed that over the five years to 2024 it is expected that the overwhelming majority of new jobs will require tertiary qualifications – and almost half of all new jobs will go to someone with a bachelor or higher qualification.

Health care is projected to make the largest contribution to employment growth, followed by:

  • Science and Technology,
  • Education, and
  • Construction.

These four industries are projected to provide 62 per cent of total employment growth over the next five years. This is part of a long-term structural shift.

Universities must teach Australians the skills needed to succeed in the jobs of the future.

Well yes … and the big question is: Who is going to pay for that?

Now over the past 20 years or so, Australia has worked on a model where foreigners paid for our education. If you don’t believe me – believe Andrew Norton.  Now those foreigners are gone – if not gone, not quite as reliable a source of income as before. As sure as hell, the Australian government doesn’t want to pay for it, and they’re not even going to ask the Australian taxpayer.

So. Plan B.

So here is a table from the AFR:

Looking at that table you might get the idea that the government is punishing those pesky, do-nothing humanities graduates. Communications students too (journalism – who doesn’t hate the media?). All those commerce and economics & law students with their ‘bullshit’ jobs. Well, they had it coming.

But … not so fast.

How are universities funded?

So the stripped down model goes something like this: Student applies to do course. Government pays uni $X for student doing the course (the government also fixes the price it is prepared to pay), the government then recovers $Y from the student over time via the tax system. This is described as a loan scheme but it actually isn’t. It should be formalised as a loan. But I digress. As The Minister said today, it is a good scheme.

So I played around with that table. How much funding in total goes to courses?

The government is passing off a cut in overall funding to science and engineering and maths and stuff as being a “good thing”.

Now many people are going to ask, “Isn’t this an increase in the price for students for do humanities?’. The answer is, “Well, sort of”. Prices in and of themselves are not important. Elasticity of demand is also important. When elasticity of demand is low people will buy the product even if prices are high. Demand for university education is already price inelastic.

One of the features of the Australian university funding mechanism is to blunt the operation of price signals. The logic being it is better for someone to go to university and have wasted taxpayer dollars and for someone to miss out. (If you don’t like that view – don’t shout at me, I didn’t set the policy – go shout at your MP).

So what is the government actually doing? It is substituting Management & Commerce, Law & Economics and Humanities students for international students. These domestic Australian students are the new cash cows who will provide the cross-subsidies for everyone else in the system. If you don’t believe me, here is the VC of the ANU (emphasis added):

The problem I see for the University (rather than for the individual students) is in the science, math, and engineering areas, because the total amount of money we get per student in these areas drops dramatically, whereas the total funding in CASS, CAP, Law, and CBE will actually increase. As the designer of HECS, Professor Bruce Chapman in our Research School of Economics, always reminds me, changing a student’s HECS debt by even a significant amount seems not to change their behaviour. Putting this all together, while our students in CASS, CAP, Law, and CBE will bear a higher HECS burden, those parts of the University will end up generating more money for future activities than they do now. Overall, we believe ANU will receive slightly total more funds for teaching than we have in the past.

The government is shifting the burden of financing the university sector from foreigners onto those Australians who are best able to bear the burden. Well, those Australians that the government thinks is best able to bear the burden. A sub-set of taxpayers who studies commerce, economics, law, humanities and communications.

Now this is not a bad strategy per se – but it does involve a lot of fiscal illusion.  Certainly it has bamboozled some parliamentarians:

CA senator Stirling Griff told The Australian that they support the policy in principle, but have concerns that changing course fees alone will not convince enough young Australians to not enrol in humanities and law.

We want people to enrol in the course that best suit their own individual needs. The government will be subsidising less of a humanities course, and the people doing those courses will be cross-subsiding more of the people doing courses like nursing and the like.

To be sure, the university system will still be smaller overall. But the cost of educating Australians is still being manipulated.

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95 Responses to Humanity students are the new cash cows.

  1. Bruce of Newcastle

    Journalism and communications HECS fees should be increased 500%, on account of the damage they do to the country.

  2. The Sheriff

    They need to force closures of the shitty universities. There’s really no need for any of the non-sandstone institutions.

    ANU
    Sydney
    Melbourne
    Tasmania
    Adelaide
    UWA
    UQ

    We don’t really need any of the others, especially Monash which is a cesspit of Soviet brutalism submerged in Marxism. Although given that UQ has been taken over by a foreign power perhaps it should be shutdown too.

    Private institutions like Bond and Notre Dame are of course welcome to continue operating.

  3. stackja

    Why do journalists need to go to university? To give ex-journalists a teaching position? I believe the journalists of the past started as lowly copyboys paid at the expense of the news organizations.

  4. Sandstones are arguably the worst of the worst.

    More waste, more nepotism, more Marxism and more useless degrees.

    Shut them down first.

  5. Oh come on

    Sheriff, you’re talking out of your rear end. The sandstones dish out a tonne of garbage grads.

  6. C.L.

    What a fascinating case study in Appleby political economy and media manipulation.
    So hippie women’s literature students are funding the engineers and the nurses?

    I suppose the engineers and nurses pay them back with unemployment benefits later, though, right?

  7. stackja

    UTS was created by NSW premier Barry as a election stunt.

  8. Oh come on

    Sinc is absolutely correct, though, about full fee paying students (ie OS students) funding our universities. I can absolutely get on board with raising of barriers to entry to university – hobby degrees need to be paid for in full, cash on the barrelhead. I guess this would cause significant amalgamation within the university sector. Wonder who will get stuck with the debt that’s been raised to build all of the glittering (and soon to be ghost) campuses?

  9. Ellie

    Creative arts’ students should not be attacked!

  10. stackja

    How many communists thought Red China would help destroy many Australian university careers with a virus?

  11. stackja

    How many past artists and writers needed a university degree?

  12. 2dogs

    The reduced total funding for STEM degrees reflects that it is now cheaper to teach these topics.

    Due mainly to advances in technology.

  13. Roger W

    Why does the Government not simply say it will fund some courses it sees as beneficial and will not fund others (such as all the courses on Gender Studies or journalism, for example)?
    It seems to be what they want to do but are doing very clumsily and with unintended consequences.

  14. Suburban Boy

    Prices in and of themselves are not important.

    Didn’t I read that in one of the Five-Year Plans of the USSR?

  15. Rockdoctor

    2dogs
    #3490356, posted on June 19, 2020 at 9:35 pm
    The reduced total funding for STEM degrees reflects that it is now cheaper to teach these topics.

    Due mainly to advances in technology.

    Agreed, I saw it when I was a student La Trobe long ago. The writing was on the wall then when the STEM faculties kept getting merged & majors dropped whilst others in Humanities thrived. I was told pretty well much that then. That was before the overseas students were more than a handful…

  16. rickw

    Win for humanities?

    It’s almost like they want to produce more completely useless but highly opinionated idiots.

  17. liliana

    All arts degrees should be cash up front. None of this pay back fees through your income BS. If you are gifted then apply for a scholarship. The cost for gender studies and other nonsense subjects should double AND be cash up front. If you really want to do an arts degree get a student loan or get a scholarship. Sick of paying to produce unemployable, semiliterate, smart arses.

  18. Arky

    So I played around with that table. How much funding in total goes to courses?

    Defund the idiot economist courses that gave us the globalist bullshit, just after their international student scam falls over due to CCP shenanigans. Makes my day.
    But if your analysis is correct and teenage idiots don’t get a price signal from a hundred thou of debt they can’t get out of before the grave, then it’s an increase for your dept.
    Which is it?
    Happy or sad?

  19. That’s too broad though. Learning languages (say French, Chinese, Japanese or Arabic) with a maths minor and maybe an IT second minor would make you employable in international finance, military/security intelligence, policing, the foreign office, tourism, banking…

    Let’s be honest.

    Women’s studies, sociology and the like are nonsense.

    Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    A degree with a major in Chinese, and a double minor in IT and maths ought not to cost that much money though. It ought to be so cheap it can be paid out of full or part time work easily a few months in arrears.

  20. Old Lefty

    Historically, STEM and medicine cost more to teach than humanities etc – hence the case for higher fees. Has technology really changed that?

    By the way, Sheriff, you are a bit out of date. The history department at Monash is now one of the better ones: much better than Melbourne, which Scotch College old boy and Althusserian Marxist Stuart MacIntyre has trashed since the coup against Geoffrey Blainey. MacIntyre’s students have damaged or destroyed the history schools in many other places as well.

  21. egg_

    How many past artists and writers needed a university degree?

    How many Nurses need a University Degree?
    Talk about Credentialism.

  22. Nato

    I’m one of those uneducated types. Please help me understand.

    This article claims:
    1 The federal government stuck it to the universities by increasing the cost of consumption.
    2 Due to price inelasticity, student demand is likely to remain the same.
    3 One university’s vice chancellor expects supply to end up generating more money for future activities than they do now.

    One of these things is not like the others.

  23. Petros

    Won’t students be less likely to enrol in a course if it costs them more?

  24. John Brumble

    As if the problem students ever paid their HECS debt anyway.
    All that’s going to happen is the same sorts of students are going to take even more money from taxpayers to do the same rubbish courses they were before, but now they’ll. complain about having a larger “debt” from their 15 years to do a three-year degree (because they keep changing it ever-so-slightly to maintain eligibility), and that the “debt” has ruined their life because they are completely incapable of separating their situation from the cool, edgy American leftist students they hear about on the internet.

  25. John Brumble

    It doesn’t cost them more, Petros. HECS is never paid back by these people.

  26. 2dogs

    HECS is never paid back by these people.

    True. We should fund places in proportion to HECS recoveries.

  27. MatrixTransform

    three years reading Foucault and dreaming about vandalising Captain Cook statues?

    Foucault (pronounced fuck-ho ) is sooo last millennium these days.

    The question on everybody’s lips is , “what would Derrida say?” (pronounced derro-duh …with the emphasis on the duh )

    I just read the intro to something the missus was gifted as part of her course.

    When the quotes before the verbiage juxtapose Fuckk-o with Heidegger … you know for sure it will be something really important about your inner nazi.

  28. MatrixTransform

    HECS is never paid back by these people.

    beg to differ

    I could buy a decent 4×4 with the Crazy Old mole’s HECS bill

    If I had the car, the payments come tax time would at least be a deductible expense

  29. MatrixTransform

    …and depreciation.

    …I’m gonna trade her in and get two 25 year olds

  30. Petros

    Maybe that’s the trick: lower the threshold for HECS repayments.

  31. one old bruce

    Well if the ‘CEO of Engineers Australia’ is any indication, STEM subjects are about to be en-wokened anyway, so what’s the difference:
    https://www.nationaltribune.com.au/engineers-australia-statement-university-fee-reform-a-recipe-for-inequality/

  32. Clam Chowdah

    It’s interesting that it’s been sold openly as social engineering marketed through the prism of class warfare. And no one has a problem with that!

    Everyone despises the humanities because of critical theory and post-colonial or black studies or gender studies and rightly so. But what about history, philosophy, economics and English literature? My fear is that this is anti-western civilisation in its framing. It certainly smells like a narrow policy that could only have emerged from the tiny mind of a retail politician who doesn’t read books.

  33. Entropy

    If we want to take this as an opportunity to restructure tertiary education funding, I think it makes sense to really hard look at the damage done by the Dawkins reforms in the eighties. There are an lawful lot of Dawkins unis that really should be technical colleges.
    Eg Southern Cross, Sunshine Coast, Charles Stuart, Griffith and no doubt some Victorian ones too. They try to pretend they can offer a comprehensive suite of disciplines, and only end up the final redoubt of mediocre lecturers with massive chips on their shoulders.
    Change their focus to higher technical job training than the TAFE system can offer (eg teaching, nursing, etc), and be done with it.

  34. Clam Chowdah

    That’s too broad though. Learning languages (say French, Chinese, Japanese or Arabic) with a maths minor and maybe an IT second minor would make you employable in international finance, military/security intelligence, policing, the foreign office, tourism, banking…

    Because all of those fields are already packed, absolutely packed, with people with maths and IT degrees. and screaming out for more. Look at you, building a smard (sic) economy like Julia Gillard.

  35. Entropy

    It is easy to underestimate the impact COVID will have on university funding. You only have to spend time on Griffith campus to realise it is completely, utterly geared around foreign, full fee paying students.
    If they lose half of them, what will it do?

  36. Matt

    Not sure about the claim that HECS is never paid back by people with arts degrees.
    As at Jan 2019, there were 2.8m people with a HECS debt, 1.266m were under the $48k repayment threshold. There are about 1m domestic students at university, so most of the 1.266 not currently making repayments would be current students. In the last decade 700,000 have repaid their debt in full, with average time to repay now around 9 years. No doubt some will slip through the cracks, but with the continual lowering of the threshold that will become harder.

  37. Good analysis Sinc. But when will there actually be some reform of the University administrator industrial complex.

    Not the academics. The administrators and the highly paid administrator administrators. The people who don’t teach/research, but those to pretend to add value – the diversity, the innovation, the international space wasters?

    Where is the actual pressure to reduce the costs of delivery …. is this not what competition is for rather than the current central planning.

  38. Fair Shake of the Sauce Bottle

    Even this analysis doesn’t provide the full picture. We also need to see the number of positions forecast. Perhaps they are predicting a ramp up in demand so overall cost per student decreases in some courses.
    I don’t have time for this I have branches to stack.

  39. Candy

    It can’t be correct that humanities and arts degrees are more valuable and cost more to teach then science and medicine, because they are booked based and can be done totally on line and the end desired job may well not exist. This all seems back to front and confusing and not honest in some way.

    If they genuinely want to discourage students from taking up humanities just lowering the threshold again will do the trick.

  40. min

    How education changes I started doing teaching with a bond to work out and no job if you got married. My first degree ! Humanities I majored in languages Indonesian , Italian and also Media /Communications . Back then no jobs with those credentials . A few years later another degree Psychology major this time followed by Graduate Diploma in Applied Psychology in order to get registered after 2 years under supervision . These qualifications did not get you trained in a therapy so I paid to get trained in CBT that was very new in Australia at the time and fortunately was able to get training with the highly esteemed father of this therapy.
    Clinical Psychology these days requires a Masters with therapy training included but I wonder if those doing the training have ever worked at the coalface .

  41. Rabbi Putin

    Health care is projected to make the largest contribution to employment growth, followed by:

    Science and Technology,
    Education, and
    Construction.
    These four industries are projected to provide 62 per cent of total employment growth over the next five years. This is part of a long-term structural shift.

    Vague meaningless phrases.
    Healthcare:
    Tafe certification will get you into nursing or aged care (and we all know that Aussie kids love their aged care!), there is an over-abundance of doctors currently.

    Science and tech: much of the best science and tech has taken place in the basement or shed, the universities tend to distract themselves with pointless studies that end up as trivia questions. You also have to ask whether AI is beneficial to a society looking for more work.

    Education:
    Do we really want to breed more of these monsters?

    Construction: as per healthcare, most positions can be gained via tafe, apprenticeship and licensing.

    Same old university con-game, repackaged for the post-covid era.

  42. Nato

    New culpa. Night shift knocks me and we’d just been sprung with overtime 20mins before clock off. My exasperation led me to forget text does not carry tone and at the end of shift smokoh, my mind read a sardonic quip at the government and it felt good to share the joke. I gave that second last paragraph no weight until reopening the site and finding my place to keep reading after dinner. Colour me embarrassed.

  43. min

    The present Nursing curiculum in Queensland is appaling. Unless it has improved over the past5 couple of year I know nurses who fund their courses working in aged care facilirtties and are then made to pay to be taught it. Compared to the hands on ward training of 50 years ago where wetrained with the first renal transplants, heart valves and other medical research ,the hyperbaric units which we never appreciated until now we see the crap thats dished up to trainee nurses to day. You want to know why Qld hospitals are staffed by people with English as a second language look no futhet than teh the Queensland Universities.

  44. Judith Sloan

    Announcement effect could shift elasticities. Also supply may be affected on basis of assumed high drop out rates.

  45. Roger

    Like many Australians I woke to the news that the federal government had stuck it to the universities.

    If only that were so.

    Don’t over egg it.

  46. Faraday, Feynman or Lavoisier did not have a *back shed*.

    They had well equipped laboratories.

    Ditto for the creation of Abiraterone or Denosumab trialling of DCA or the research into Blushwood.

    Projects like SETI or SETI @ Home by definition cannot be done in a back shed.

  47. Big_Nambas

    It all looks good to me. Any course that includes any reference to Rainbow Marxist PC shit should receive no public funding. NONE.

  48. Terry

    How much un-repaid HECS(HELP) debt belongs to those earning below the threshold, but co-habiting in a wealthy household? Doctors’ wives with a Gender Studies degree anyone?

    HECS(HELP) should be repaid from assessable family(couple) income.

    But hold on, income tax should be due on family income too. So, while that would help the un-repaid HECS(HELP) debt numbers come down, you would end up diminishing income tax slightly (due to income spreading across a couple, instead of individually).

    Probably not that much though, since the really big earners can structure to minimise anyway – which they can and should.

  49. H B Bear

    Arts degrees will become a status symbol – like a Range Rover.

    Hell, I. might even go and do one.

  50. Andre

    Agree with several comments re Dawkins ‘reforms’. Reverse them now. Keep one state based major university per state and put all the unis that were previously CAEs back into the TAFE sector delivering higher level technical qualifications. Make the TAFEs and private providers now delivering any at diploma level and above resubmit to an independent quality agency (not the one operating now) that they have the capacity and expertise to do so.

  51. Lawrence Ayres

    It seems that it all hinges on the HECs being repaid at some time. Since many useless degrees result in no real jobs then the HECs unpaid will blow out from the current 60 billion, or is it more? I would prefer a bigger cut to universities and more help to TAFEs where graduates usually have a job that contributes positively to the Nation’s well being. The little Marxist snowflakes at uni are unlikely to be ever capable of clearing a blocked sink whereas the kid who scraped through his HSC is now a qualified plumber making 200k a year.

  52. Andre your ideas are backwards nonsense.

    Just privatise the unis and let them sink or swim. It is up to them to become for profit or non-profits.

    There is nothing special about UQ or Sydney Uni, unless you are a Marxist.

    I wouldn’t even regulate TAFE. Either you know how to reprogramme a PLC or you don’t, etc.

  53. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    My views on the contemporary tertiary education sector and what I’d like to see done to it are largely unprintable here.

    What I will say is that our civilisation can no longer afford to host the steady stream of illiterate innumerate anti-scientific fact and evidence free ahistorical imbeciles unrelentingly churned out by these institutions of idiocy. To add insult to injury, my taxes are wasted on this inexcusable monumental clusterf*ck.

    Shut them down.

  54. Lawerence

    No one makes that dosh outside of mining or being a business owner – or becoming qualified as a gasfitter as well, which takes time.

  55. Andre

    Forgot to add to last comment – shut down state training departments and fund all trade and related technical training direct from the federal department based on delivery of industry recognised qualifications. States can fund non trade courses like Year 12 for adults, flower arranging, craft etc through their school education system budget.

  56. John Brumble

    Matt, the data you’ve given simply shows that some people do pay their HECS back. It has absolutely no relationship to whether or not specific people pay their HECS back. Indeed it shows that there are people who do not pay it back.
    For clarity, by “pay it back”, I mean pay all of it back, not just part of it. And by “these people” I mean the sort of people that choose rubbish degrees and deface statues while having a temper tantrum, not all humanities students.

  57. John Brumble

    Why should I have to pay back the debt of a woman who incurred it before I met her? It has nothing to do with me. Or are you suggesting that this should only happen if the family income also be considered joint for tax purposes and I can get around 85k of my income assessed at less than my current tax rate?
    Don’t do the usual Libertarian thing of completing half the job (always the half of the job that helps leftists, globalisation and larger government).

  58. The conservative thing is to do the whole job for the left.

    Slo Mo is *your* guy!

  59. Adelagado

    The ABC pulled a neat and predictable trick on the Drum last night. Discussing the university fee changes, they had a white professor putting the ‘yes’ case, but chose angry aboriginal actor and activist Derbra Cheetham to put the ‘no’ case. So it became a race issue with, of course, the Liberal Government being the racists. The ABC can’t help themselves. If there’s a dog to be whistled or a pot to be stirred they are on the job.

  60. A dog act by the ABC.

    Using a woman of colour as a meat shield, to fight racism and sexism.

  61. entropy

    Terry
    #3490673, posted on June 20, 2020 at 9:19 am
    How much un-repaid HECS(HELP) debt belongs to those earning below the threshold, but co-habiting in a wealthy household? Doctors’ wives with a Gender Studies degree anyone?

    HECS(HELP) should be repaid from assessable family(couple) income.

    But hold on, income tax should be due on family income too. So, while that would help the un-repaid HECS(HELP) debt numbers come down, you would end up diminishing income tax slightly (due to income spreading across a couple, instead of individually).

    Not a bad thought bubble at all. I would also suggest HECS debt becomes payable three years after graduation, regardless of the threshold. That might be close enough in time, and create enough sad stories, that those that never intended to exceed the threshold still end up having to pay it back anyway, or not waste OPM doing the degree in the first place.

  62. Terry

    John,

    ‘Or are you suggesting that this should only happen if the family income also be considered joint for tax purposes and I can get around 85k of my income assessed at less than my current tax rate?’

    Is that directed to me? Regardless. Yes, that is precisely what I am suggesting.

    We already compulsorily collect “spouse” income on tax returns and impose several overly complex “adjustments” based on that partner income. Let’s just dispense with the complexity and say income tax is assessed on a per couple basis (couple = double the tax-free threshold of an individual).

    With a flat rate of tax thereafter and a company tax to match, we should easily cover the reduced tax collections by being able to shred reams of tax code along with a bloated army of tax bureaucrats, lawyers, accountants, and administrators. Not to mention the return of all those unpaid hours spent by business working for the deep-state.

    There hasn’t been a better opportunity to do this kind of thing in the last 50 years.

  63. Terry

    ‘would also suggest HECS debt becomes payable three years after graduation, regardless of the threshold.’

    The timing can be negotiable but it must always be something (never nothing).

    Even someone on a welfare payment (what about $275 a week before the WuFlu?) should have a $1 per week deducted to repay their HECS/HELP debt. They’ll still never repay it at that rate, but that is not the point.

  64. Matt

    No John, the data I showed doesn’t specifically show that there are people who never pay back their HECS debt. There’s no doubt there are some people who don’t, but proportionately it will be low given the repayment threshold. I would lower that threshold further to ensure that everyone does repay.

  65. Fisky

    Although I fully support the theory of making arts graduates pay more, as others have pointed out, they aren’t actually going to do so unless the repayment threshold is reduced.

  66. Fisky

    Sheriff, you’re talking out of your rear end. The sandstones dish out a tonne of garbage grads.

    Absolutely. About 15-20 years ago, it was local students who couldn’t string a sentence together (anyone who had to mark essays during that period would know). Since then, it’s that, plus international students stuffed into “group assignments” with local students who can’t string a sentence together.

  67. egg_

    Gummint meddles in the Market of the Degrees Sausage Factories?
    What could possibly go wrong?

  68. egg_

    international students stuffed into “group assignments” with local students who can’t string a sentence together.

    +1

    Like a scene out of Community.

  69. egg_

    The ABC can’t help themselves. If there’s a dog to be whistled or a pot to be stirred they are on the job.

    It’s obvious that the Producers have preconceived questions for the individual panellists before they go on air – worse than Q&A.

  70. egg_

    Cheetham was doing OK until they pressed her “History” button – which they must have been well aware of.
    Too bad Keith Windschuttle wasn’t on the panel.

  71. egg_

    our civilisation can no longer afford to host the steady stream of illiterate innumerate anti-scientific fact and evidence free ahistorical imbeciles unrelentingly churned out by these institutions of idiocy.

    BLM protesters in a nutshell.

  72. Roger

    …local students who can’t string a sentence together.

    There’s a major part of the problem.

    When I was at school students who weren’t attaining the required standards in a grade were not advanced to the next grade. We also weren’t graded on a curve.

  73. egg_

    SETI @ Home by definition cannot be done in a back shed.

    Prior to this, ABC Science forum Nerds abhorred computers “always on” as wasteful and eevil.

    Along comes [email protected] screensaver and it’s all the rage!

    STEM fvckwits.

    I’d rather be ruled by humanities, thanks.

  74. vr

    …local students who can’t string a sentence together.

    Reading comprehension is going downhill.

  75. Roger

    Reading comprehension is going downhill.

    Yet they imagine themselves to be the wisest and most noble minded generation to ever grace this earth.

  76. Beachcomber

    Spurgeon Monkfish III at 10:02 am

    What I will say is that our civilisation can no longer afford to host the steady stream of illiterate innumerate anti-scientific fact and evidence free ahistorical imbeciles unrelentingly churned out by these institutions of idiocy. To add insult to injury, my taxes are wasted on this inexcusable monumental clusterf*ck.

    Shut them down.

    Thank you Spurgeon. Well said!

  77. Hasbeen

    Surely they could have a one year course in Government pen pushing, rather than have all the waste of thousands doing a a 4 year arts course, simply to qualify for public service jobs.

    I guess they would need thousands less “professors” , which would boost unemployment queues, with totally unemployable dills.

  78. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    they would need thousands less “professors”

    The correct terminology is “Perfessers”.

    And thanks, Beachcomber and the eggster. My fury about the sorry state of so called “tertiary education” is unrelenting, especially given the effort it took me to get my BEc (gained three decades ago) after which I vowed I would never, ever, willingly set foot on a university campus again.

    That vow has been kept! 🎓

  79. Boambee John

    they would need thousands less “professors”

    Pedant alert, before the bin chicken arrives!

    “thousands fewer”.

  80. Clam Chowdah

    You’re totally wrong.

    Suggesting that languages, IT and mathematics are no longer wanted in security, defence, banking or in international trade is quite frankly, loopy stuff.

    What do they want? Fine arts grads? Electricians? Retirees?

  81. Squirrel

    Surely our glorious Senate will give short shrift to this populist, picking-winners impertinence from the LNP and drag things back somewhat closer to Labor’s “anyone with a pulse can and should have at least one degree” policy – anything less would mean “leaving people behind” and thus be un-Strayan.

    In the meantime, watching Dan Tehan deflecting would-be zingers (“but you have an Arts degree, Minister” – ha ha ha…..) from the press gallery Millenials with his hypnotic, aw-shucks monotone will be fun to watch.

  82. Pyrmonter

    Andrew Norton, or someone else versed with the details of course funding (something peculiarly opaque), may correct me … but the CW in the late 80s and early 90s – in the days when courses were funded differently and there was one low grade of HECS (or a student fee) was that most universities routinely cross-susbisided Sciene/Engineering/Ag/Medicine with the proceeds of Law/Economics/Commerce. The numbers of teachers of Law has exploded, making me think that is less the case now; is this a return to the past practice?

  83. Pyrmonter

    @ Dot

    Given that Art History is part of Architecture (another course with reduced ticket price) we may have not shortage of fine arts grads, of a sort.

  84. Judith Sloan

    About 20 per cent don’t pay HECS back.

  85. David Brewer

    Judith makes good points about the economic impact:

    – Announcement effect could shift elasticities.
    – supply may be affected on basis of assumed high drop out rates.
    – plus long-term effects of non-payment of HECS (especially by humanities students rendered unemployable by their “education”).

    The demand for tertiary education has proved fairly inelastic so far, but the line has to fall to some extent and this is shifting the abscissa quite a way rightwards for the humanities students. However, a lot of them may just switch to something else “soft” like a lot of education and health courses. Many of these are infected with SJW crap anyway, and if the leaners find they are not getting enough of it they can always audit some English or Sociology course featuring Foucault-wit, Derider, or Beau Driller for Vegemite.

    The net effect may well be to shift enough students out of courses that are expensive for them and into courses that are expensive for the government that the new student population ends up costing the taxpayer even more than the old one did.

  86. Clam Chowdah

    Suggesting that languages, IT and mathematics are no longer wanted in security, defence, banking or in international trade is quite frankly, loopy stuff.

    All of those sectors have people from a broader range of disciplines. The idea that all they want or need is maths and IT is a retail politician’s fantasy, and certainly red meat to the philistines here.

  87. I am aware of that Clam and I value the idea of the classical education (treivium and quadrivium) but you can’t get a biologist or an economist to do cryptoanalysis unless they’re a savant or at least did a minor in mathematics. Of course getting a lawyer or an engineer to understand the Banda Aceh region’s politics quickly enough to be able to talk about it thinking on their feet might be difficult. Now if they have a double dgree they have a sharp mind, technical skills and then they might have a language or a major in history or so on. Of course espionage is about human intelligence too. Sometimes you need someone who can talk. Having a former salesman in the job isn’t a bad idea. I’ve seen people get jobs in DFAT and usually they’re bright young things with double degrees, honours, life experience and colorful family histories.

    I was also pointing out that these “red meat” topics actually are found in arts degrees, it isn’t all coloured poop and screaming about penises.

  88. Really though, bank tellers with arts degrees?

    That’s just diversity hiring and credentialism. Maybe they studied drama and became a brilliant salesperson. Maybe…

    They could have hired some kid out of high school and given them a scholarship to study anything.

  89. Clam Chowdah

    I don’t want bank tellers with arts degrees.

    But the fields you listed prefer (And hire) a diversity of education qualifications. Not just maths and IT.

  90. Clam Chowdah

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    The nanny state writ small.

  91. Clam Chowdah

    I am aware of that Clam and I value the idea of the classical education (treivium and quadrivium) but you can’t get a biologist or an economist to do cryptoanalysis unless they’re a savant or at least did a minor in mathematics. Of course getting a lawyer or an engineer to understand the Banda Aceh region’s politics quickly enough to be able to talk about it thinking on their feet might be difficult. Now if they have a double dgree they have a sharp mind, technical skills and then they might have a language or a major in history or so on. Of course espionage is about human intelligence too. Sometimes you need someone who can talk. Having a former salesman in the job isn’t a bad idea. I’ve seen people get jobs in DFAT and usually they’re bright young things with double degrees, honours, life experience and colorful family histories.

    I was also pointing out that these “red meat” topics actually are found in arts degrees, it isn’t all coloured poop and screaming about penises.

    I just saw this. I think we’re largely in agreement.

  92. Sinclair Davidson

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    I’ve worked out what the problem is – should be fixed now.

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