Public hearings into reforms one of the final hurdles

WITH more than 160 submissions from academics, teachers, students and parents, the Senate committee examining the Abbott Government's higher education reforms will embark on a week of public hearings on Tuesday.

The series of hearings will start in Brisbane, with one day in the Sunshine State, before heading to Canberra for two days of hearings and a final hearing in Melbourne this week.

The committee has received some 163 submissions from private education providers, TAFE and VET providers, the nation's key universities lobby groups, parents and students themselves.

Among the key groups to spell out their concerns and hopes for the wide-ranging reforms and deregulation of the university fee market on Tuesday will be the Regional Universities Network, the Council of Private Higher Education and Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency.

The former head of Universities Australia and vice-chancellor of James Cook University Dr Sandra Harding, as well as higher education expert Professor Peter Shergold are also expected to meet with the committee on Tuesday.

The series of hearings this week will be one of the final hurdles before the Senate committee examines the submissions and reports its findings to Parliament by the end of October. But the reforms will still face the final test in the Senate, where Labor and The Greens have already said they are opposed to the changes.

- APN Newsdesk



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