I am a student in the excellent languages department at UNE.
I benefited from the Federal higher education reform package announced last week because it cuts languages fees.
All the same I am opposed to the package, and was disappointed the Vice Chancellor endorsed it in your paper.
The Vice Chancellor correctly pointed out that the package contained positive funding provisions for the regions. But the drip feed of funding on offer was far too modest, and paying for it by defunding humanities and more than doubling fee costs for humanities students is an enormous and divisive price to pay.
We live in a world with highly complex environmental, social, political and economic challenges to overcome. We need to get the best out of everyone and marshal every critical tool we can lay our hands on to face it all.
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That means more high level technical training and doing much more on equity and regional funding. But defunding the humanities as a way to pay for some of that, and in so doing defunding the enormous critical thinking fire-power that comes with them, says two things to me.
It says that the worst of wedge politics is back with a vengeance, and that our Federal Government is willing to collectively shoot ourselves in both feet in order to play a distasteful and self-destructive game with our future.