Australian university students need better funding

It’s been more than 40 years since the federal government of Whitlam made university education free. This was something many were pushing at the time. My arguments on this included the point that without educated professionals this country could not function. Others also thought this way, we considered that by raising the burden of fees we should actually be paying people to go into higher education.

Every government department and business life requires people with degrees and doctorates in fields relevant to their positions. The need to maintain an alumni pool must compete with the sacrifices made on the part of the students. They often give up lifestyles and other things to take courses.

Our hospitals need doctors, nurses and scientists. Our cities run with the help of graduates educated in law, economics and a long list of other subjects. In a rapidly expanding society like Australia, there is no limit to the number of graduates we need.

The next government which arrived a few months later quickly replaced the university fees and since then it has been on the decline. The country is now in the position of having to import qualified people from abroad to do the jobs for which Australians were denied qualification because of the cost.

The fees are now very high and are going up every year. Altogether, the cost of obtaining a medical degree could reach $100,000 soon. Books alone are often too expensive for students, and they either borrow or rent them. Add to that the equipment and other costs and it’s pretty substantial.

While the government does offer student loans, it has now put a time limit on them which means that repayments may exceed one’s income when first starting out. The question is what politicians expect to happen. Most current students have had free education or paid very little for it in the past, but now they make it not only impossible for many Australians but us behind the rest of the world in education quotas.

University students are protesting vehemently against demonstrations that will not stop until something better is produced. They need better financial assistance and more government support for their sacrifices. The country will be better served if they get it.