by Simon Marginson

The Augar report pits arts against sciences – and both lose out

Cutting fees for arts and humanities degrees would damage Stem subjects too

After days of intensive discussion, the strengths and weaknesses of the Augar report on post-18 education policy and funding are apparent. It is a solid review, refreshingly non-ideological in tone, but undermined by a flawed vision and wishful thinking.

Some of its proposals – and its less attractive one-liners about low-value courses and too many graduates – are likely to seep into policy. But it lacks the momentum of a great reform. It gives but it takes away, handicapped by having to be fiscally neutral.

It’s hard to see the next prime minister picking up the whole package. Politically it does not secure youth votes at scale. Policy-wise it creates as many problems as it solves.

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