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The nature of the education process has also, inevitably, changed. It may be élitist to talk about the “top” students, but whatever measure one may use, taking the top 40% rather than the top 10% inevitably means that the standards over the whole cohort must be lower.So it is not unreasonable that there are many who claim, and bemoan, a decline in standards.Monash University provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation AU.
At the same time the student to academic staff ratio steadily – and sometimes not so steadily – increased.What I do have a problem with is the assumption that all 40% should be capable of the same level as the top 10%. The number of such students has also risen, both as a proportion of first-degree numbers and also because of overseas student numbers.In particular, a far greater proportion of the Australian population takes a Ph D than in the 1970s.To put this in perspective, the government is now striving for 40%.So, in those days, the fit between Ph Ds and academic positions was much closer.