This week, a number of Age commentators have pushed the line that higher education is an investment. This implies that we get "immeasurable returns in the future" (Louise Merrington, 19/1) of something we value.
Well, that's just not the case in Australia, where scholars are maligned, universities are propped up by overseas students and the term "academic" is synonymous with "irrelevant".
So what if something like 5% of our workforce - often our best and brightest - is overseas? Or university enrollments are going backwards? We can import (mediocre) accountants, doctors and engineers by the spadeful at very little cost. This frees up money for things we do value
- gold medals at sporting events and the big TVs on which to watch them.
The call for further spending on education by the likes of Shane Green and Sid Spindler (Letters, 19/1) will be dismissed by the Australian public as another plea by those eggheads to feather their nests, while real Aussies like Thorpie and Hewitt get on with what matters.
If the number of fellow PhD candidates in my CAE German language class is anything to go by, we won't have to put up with public pleading for too much longer.