Category Archives: Corrections and clarifications

Bachelor degrees the science employment risk

The Higher Education Supplement this morning ran an op-ed version of my critique of Ian Chubb’s promotion of science courses. About 60 words were cut from the original. Editors often have to shrink articles to the available space, but in this case an important source was omitted. The employment outcomes in the last few paragraphs are from the 2006 census, not the Beyond Graduation survey as the op-ed appears to say. An amended version of the op-ed is under the fold.

Those paragraphs were the only part of the article that I had not reported before. In the past, I have said that science graduates as a whole have about average rates of graduate employment in professional and managerial jobs. However, closer analysis tells a more interesting story. People with postgraduate science qualifications have above rates of professional and managerial employment. But people with bachelor-level qualifications have lower rates of such employment – males 5 percentage points below the male average, and women a massive 13 percentage points below the female average. That’s a pretty bad outcome, and one worth further investigation when the 2011 census is released later this year.

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Department of Corrections

For those who downloaded my Grattan report, Mapping Australian higher education, there was an error in table 8 on page 50 which lists funding rates for Commonwealth-supported places. The maths and science rates did not include $3,499 in transitional funding paid for students enrolled in 2009 or later, who paid a student contribution amount reduced by that amount. The correct numbers are in a revised version of the report.

Further complicating matters, these student contributions will be put back up next year, so assuming that the required legislation is passed future calculations should take this into account. Other than via indexation the total won’t be affected, but the student contribution will go up, and the Commonwealth contribution will go down.