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Sharp rise in student/staff ratios reported

A dramatic increase in the number of students per staff member in Australian universities is shown in research published on 2 November.

The research, undertaken by Frank Larkins for the LH Martin Institute, shows that the average number of undergraduates and other coursework students for each university teacher is 34.1—up from 25.2 in the year 2000.

According to the National Tertiary Education Union, the trend underlines the need for the government to deliver increased funding for higher education.

“Rising student-to-staff ratios are a key indicator of the health of the university system. There is a strong inverse relationship between the level of real funding per student and student to staff ratios,” said Jeannie Rea, president of NTEU.

“We are concerned that this could worsen as universities deal with a new funding system to be introduced from next year, which removes limits on numbers of students they can enrol,” she added.