The Guardian September 15, 1999


University head privatises campus

The community-based public education group POPE (Promotion of Public 
Education) held a rally at the University of NSW Kensington campus last 
Monday to protest against the University's Vice Chancellor, John Niland, 
leasing a former teacher education facility to an elite private school.

NSW Education Minister John Aquilina had in July refused to give permission 
for the sale of the University's Oatley Campus to Trinity Grammar. So John 
Niland leased the site. The amount has not been disclosed.

Trinity Grammar has already begun work to convert lecture facilities into 
classrooms and last month Trinity students used the site for a sports day.

The lease is for ten and a half years with an option to renew for a further 
five years. They intend to begin classes from January next year and have 
already advertised for teachers and students.

"NSW is set to face the worst teacher shortage in its entire history", said 
POPE spokesperson, Robert Treasure. "There will be a 25 per cent shortage 
of teachers in five years, and since there's an international shortage it 
can't be solved by importing teachers as happened in the past.

"Yet there's no extra money for training our teachers and valuable public 
teacher training assets are being handed over to one of the wealthiest 
private schools."

The POPE rally continued a long-running campaign by the group around three 
key issues:

* The inequitable increase in government funding for the very richest 
private schools;

* Privatisation of precious public education assets;

* The growing teacher shortage.

Trinity Grammar currently charges between $5,000 and $10,000 per year for 
each junior student, and over $10,000 for senior students.

Combined State and Federal funding for Trinity has increased by 30 per cent 
over two years to $2.1 million.

The recent Federal Budget increased funding to schools like Trinity Grammar 
by $561 million and the Federal Government's benchmarking system has 
immediately handed Trinity an extra $40,000 this year; an amount equivalent 
to an experienced teacher's salary.

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