JERAA condemns Education Minister’s reckless plan to increase university fees 

By Alex Wake
JERAA President

 

Federal Minister Dan Tehan’s decision to more than double the cost of journalism degrees strikes at the heart of democracy in this country.

Notwithstanding the Federal Government’s attack on the humanities, students will continue to want to study journalism because of the role it plays in society in building communities and shining a light on the processes of the powerful.

Journalism and broader communication degrees clearly provide the critical skills that Minister Tehan wants in digitally savvy job graduates and that Australia needs in its journalists.

Journalism and communications graduates find jobs, not only because news organisations want their skills, but because increasing numbers of other companies and organisations value the truth-seeking, digital literacy and communication skills they have learned.

Journalism requires the very skills that The World Economic Forum and others say employers want: complex problem solving, creativity, emotional intelligence, judgement and decision making, negotiation, service orientation, and cognitive flexibility. These are also the skills which underpin the list provided by The Institute for the Future.

The decision of the government to more than double the cost of journalism degrees at a time when the industry is already under significant pressure is reckless and short-sighted.

This decision also effectively prices out some people from studying journalism at a time when there is a clear need to  have better representation in news of the full cross section of Australians.

JERAA calls on the Minister to draw on the critical thinking skills acquired during his own undergraduate humanities studies and consider the consequences of this decision.

Photo by Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Flickr

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