|Description of this FunctionDescription of this Function|
This function encompasses the provision of university education to 1987. It is concerned with policies, accreditation and funding of universities, not university agencies themselves. For individual agencies, see VF 382 Educational institutions.
University education began in Victoria in 1853 with the establishment of the University of Melbourne. It remained the only university in Victoria until 1958, when Monash University was established. From the outset, university education in Victoria was conducted along British lines, and resulted in students gaining a Bachelor's level degree and higher. While university education was slow to take off in Victoria, enrolments surged after World War II, when the Commonwealth Government paid for places for ex-servicemen. Student numbers continued to grow in the 1960s, and, in 1967, La Trobe University was founded. Deakin University was then established in 1974.
From 1958 until 1974, funding for universities was done through a combination of Commonwealth and State Government funds, student fees and investments and other sources. In 1974, the Whitlam Government assumed full funding responsibilities for all Australian universities, abolished all student fees and made commitments on universal access to tertiary education for qualified students. This change meant that the Commonwealth Government was responsible for funding of the universities, but legislative responsibilities remained with the states and the governing councils of the individual universities.
This system remained in place until the mid-1980s, when it was determined that the university sector was under stress and under funded. This led to a complete restructure of the university sector in 1988, the reintroduction of student fees and the establishment of several former Colleges of Advanced Education as universities.
The functional responsibility for university education remained with the State Governments, with the Commonwealth Government responsible for funding only. This meant that higher education issues and policies such as those associated with accreditation, policy development, maintenance and administration were conducted through State statutory bodies or the governing councils of the universities, rather than through the Commonwealth Government.
The consolidation of all boards with responsibility for vocational education and training into the State Training Board in 1987 meant that all types of education and training were now the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and Training (VA 1112), rather than being split between the Ministry and the Department of Labour (VA 2777). This change in function is reflected in the change in function title in the PROV system. Researchers interested in records prior to 1987 should see this function and associated functions and agencies (particularly VF 314 education (post-secondary) to c. 1987; and VF 315 education (technical/vocational) to c. 1987). These functions were consolidated to form VF 318 education (tertiary) post c. 1987, which includes all forms of tertiary education and training post-1987.