Aussie uni comparison site ‘must be treated with caution’

Posted By TEU on Apr 5, 2012 |

Students from today can compare Australia’s 39 public universities on course satisfaction levels, staff numbers, drop-out rates and graduate employment – but experts have warned the indicators could provide an inaccurate gauge of education quality.

Tertiary education minister Chris Evans, who launched the My University website said it would empower students to make the “right call”.

“Enrolling at university is a huge life decision for young Australians and their families. My University will help ensure that students have all the relevant information to make an informed decision about what’s best for them,” Senator Evans said.

The launch of the $1.5 million website is designed to ensure accountability and transparency as universities compete for students. It is similar New Zealand’s current proposal to collate and publish job employment data and other tertiary education institution specific data for students.

My University publishes information about fees, course cut-offs, lecturer qualifications, student satisfaction rates, graduate employment outcomes and student-staff ratios. It also provides information about amenities, such as car parking and childcare, and details about clubs, societies and other elements of campus culture.

But the Australian National Tertiary Education Union said the My University website showed the federal government was focussed on league tables rather than quality in higher education.

“The use of indicators, including cost of library photocopying, whether your university has a swimming pool and the number of car parking spaces on campus, fails to address the real quality issues in higher education, such as insufficient government funding and a highly casualised workforce,” said president Jeannie Rea.

Thanks to Justin Norrie for the story. Read the full article at The Conversation

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