CQUniversity vice-chancellor Professor Scott Bowman
CQUniversity vice-chancellor Professor Scott Bowman Contributed

CQUni and UQ academics quarrel over uni reform

TWO leading academics have faced off over impending university reform.

CQUniversity vice-chancellor Professor Scott Bowman blasted one of his colleagues' claims that regional institutions would suffer under the Federal Government's shake-up of higher education.

Professor Roger Scott said the University of Queensland would be the state's only winner under Education Minister Christopher Pyne's Higher Education and Research Reform Amendment Bill.

"If the current proposals are adopted, UQ's current dominance will increase at the expense of all other Queensland universities," Prof Scott, a UQ academic, said on Thursday.

"Inequalities in access already exist.

"They will become considerably worse, particularly for regional Queenslanders."

His Central Queensland counterpart said change was the key to survival.

"The same doomsday arguments were made when the uncapping of student places occurred a few years ago," Prof Bowman said.

People were saying the large sandstone universities would grow while the smaller regional universities wouldn't survive.

"CQUniversity actually emerged from this period as the second-fastest growing university in Australia for domestic enrolments."

"The only universities who have the potential to go backwards under the current proposed reforms are those with no appetite for change"

"The more innovative and entrepreneurial institutions are seeing tremendous opportunities in these reforms, especially regional universities."

Regional University Network executive director Caroline Perkins said careful consideration was needed before changes were put in place.

"We would be concerned with the reforms if there weren't policy measures put in place to help regional universities," Dr Perkins said.

UQ vice-chancellor Peter Hoj said he did not know if regional universities would suffer under reforms.

"Deregulation is something that will give rise to more nervousness to a regional university than at a sandstone uni like ours because there is such demand for our places," he said.

The Federal Government is considering a raft of changes including deregulation of fees and changes to the HECS loan scheme.


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