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University Withdrawal Rates

The Hon. A.L. McLACHLAN ( 15:19 ): Mr President, I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Employment, Higher Education and Skills a question regarding university withdrawal rates in South Australia.

Leave granted.

The Hon. A.L. McLACHLAN: Strategic target T93 aims to increase the proportion of South Australians aged between 15 and 64 participating in tertiary education and training to 17 per cent by 2016. Whilst the Audit Committee has rated achievement of this target as within reach, I note that the target measures participation rates rather than completions.

It was recently reported in The Advertiserthat, whilst 30,000 students will begin a South Australian university course this year, approximately one in eight of these students will drop out before the end of the first semester. It was reported that the problem is of sufficient significance that the state’s three universities (Adelaide, Flinders and the University of South Australia) will join together in a project to investigate the reasons for these withdrawals. My questions to the minister are:

1.Are the students who withdraw from university within the first semester of their first year counted as participating in tertiary education and training for the purposes of the government’s Strategic Plan Progress Report?

2.Is the government contemplating any measures in conjunction with our three major universities to address the rate of students who are dropping out of their first semester of their first year at university?

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