This story by ABC business editor Ian Verrender, conflates a number of stories I have written in the last two years. All are focused on intergenerational transfers. How important is a good job for young people? It’s crucial as it determines a raft of other outcomes later in life. Republic Resumes fights for young people to get meaningful work.
"They've become the forgotten generation. Or maybe just ignored. It may have gone largely unnoticed, but the Federal Budget, handed down last week as the precursor to an election campaign, neatly included yet another tax tweak to the superannuation system that will allow those in retirement, particularly the wealthy, to stash away just a little more loot, to be subsidised naturally by the next generation.
Missing from the same lengthy plan for our future, however, was anything that might help shift the focus of our tertiary education system from a dollar-driven export industry back towards its original intention: institutions for higher learning to equip Australians for the future.
The university sector wasn't entirely ignored last week. Buried in the tome was a commitment to invest $93.7 million in the university sector over four years for students attending regional universities or vocational education training facilities.
Almost a third of these students come from China, while India and Malaysia come in a distant second and third.The rapid growth of Australia as a centre for global learning, however, has not been without cost. There are accusations among academics that in the race to attract more foreign students, teaching standards have slipped, with lecturers under pressure to pass students, even those with poor language skills who clearly can't grasp the subject material.
Diligent educators who fail too many students run the risk themselves of being considered failures who quickly are moved on.
In addition, many foreign students enrol here as a soft way to emigrate, swelling the number of local undergraduates competing for jobs and depressing wages, initially in service industries while studying for degrees and later in their professions.
The sad truth is that vast numbers of young Australians are graduating with degrees in fields such as law, journalism and psychology, and there are nowhere near enough jobs to soak up the supply. Would-be barristers instead become baristas.