I am gobsmacked that some of Australia’s universities, supposedly led by thoughtful intellectuals, would contemplate lowering entry requirements for admission to courses, so critically important in preparing future contributors to major industries. That tertiary institutions would set the bar low “… to take subpar students” (“Weekend Australian 6,7/8) is making a mockery of the standards that should be expected of higher education. Sacrificing quality (course calibre) for quantity (increasing numbers of students admitted to courses) can lead to only one conclusion; that universities are more interested in income from students and government funding, than they are to maintaining reputations based on course standards.
Many students who are admitted to degree study under these conditions, will be drafted into remedial and ‘catch up’ programs, saturating bridging courses. Student drop out rates will skyrocket – but not before exiting students have been responsible for generating dollars into university treasury coffers.
The motivation for attracting students to university courses at degree level must be based on a valid ATAR score. To water down standards flies in the face of common sense. If universities are determined to lower entry level requirements, the Federal Government should take responsibility for enrolment processes by prescribing entry level requirement that cannot be diluted.