Christopher Pyne announces $996,500 grant for SCU
UPDATE THURSDAY: EDUCATION Minister Christopher Pyne announced almost a million dollars in additional funding for a Southern Cross University project during a tour of the university's facilities yesterday.
The $996,500 grant will be used to develop a project aimed at boosting the teaching and learning of maths and science in Years 7 to 10.
As well as announcing the new funding initiative, Mr Pyne was also working to promote his controversial higher education reforms, introduced in this year's budget.
He said regional students, like those at SCU, would benefit from the changes.
But SCU student union president Jeff Imeson said the increases in fees that would come with the reforms would make university unaffordable for many rural students.
"The minister was unwilling to speculate as to what future fees students would face," he said. "But it is widely acknowledged that HELP debts may increase 40% to 60%.
"If students face those level of debts, it will impact on the wider economy, as students may defer having a family or buying a home.
"One of our biggest fears is that if it's totally deregulated, similar to what America faces, it becomes more elitist and it becomes education for the wealthy, the top 1%."
Mr Imeson said the union was given very little warning the Minister for Education would be visiting SCU.
Students at universities across the country have held demonstrations and rallies against the higher education reforms, and in some cases, targeted visiting Government ministers.
The SCU grant is part of a $16.4 million funding scheme where 10 universities work in partnership with schools and other organisations to promote the study of maths and science at school and tertiary level.
The funding will be provided under the Australian maths and Science Partnerships Programme competitive grants round.
Mr Pyne said the programme was designed to expand and encourage an interest in science and maths.
"These projects are designed to foster an interest amongst young people in science and maths and amongst teachers in science and maths," he said.
UPDATE 10am: MINISTER for Education Christopher Pyne has announced a $996,500 grant for Southern Cross University to develop a project to enhance the teaching and learning of maths and science in years 7-10 while visiting the campus today.
"This funding is part of a $16.4 million investment across ten universities, where universities will work in partnership with schools and other organisations to promote study of maths and science at a school and tertiary level," Mr Pyne said.
"The Australian Government is supporting better learning in science, mathematics and related subjects because a strong capability in these areas is crucial to our future national prosperity."
The funding will be provided under the Australian Maths and Science Partnerships Programme competitive grants round.
Mr Pyne said that regional students and their communities will also particularly benefit from the Australian Government's higher education reforms introduced in this year's Budget.
"Under these reforms the Australian Government will, for the first time ever, provide support to all students, in all higher education institutions, be they universities, colleges or those TAFEs registered as higher education providers, whether in the cities or the bush," Mr Pyne said.
ORIGINAL REPORT 9.15am: Education Minister to visit Lismore campus of SCU
The Federal Minister for Education Christopher Pyne will visit SCU today (Wednesday) at 9.15am.
The Minister is expected to make an announcement followed by an inspection tour of the university's new Engineering labs, GeoScience facilities and Biogeochemistry labs.
The media are request to meet at the ground floor of A block (engineering facilities) near the Student Plaza by 9.15am.