Monash University VC in debate

Article from: The Australian
Andrew Trounson | November 19, 2008

MONASH University’s incoming vice-chancellor Ed Byrne has waded into the policy debate, calling for a more student demand-led system that he said would drive quality.

But he warned against any full deregulation of tuition fees, wary that it would discourage the economically disadvantaged.

Professor Byrne said creating aspiration at school was key to overcoming the chronic under-representation of low socio-economic groups at university.

He indicated that Monash was keen to build school relationships in disadvantaged areas of Gippsland, in Victoria’s east, where Monash had a campus. “By the time young people have left school, if they aren’t already inspired, many of them are lost forever to the idea of tertiary education,” Professor Byrne told journalists by phone from London following news of his appointment.

The head of University College London’s medical school and a neuroscientist, Professor Byrne, 56, will succeed Richard Larkins, 65, when he retires at the end of his term in June.

A former dean of medicine at Monash, Byrne was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2006 for his research and clinical work in neurology, particularly in mitochondrial muscle disease.