The Federal Government's competition review is disastrously wrong about education
THE SUPPORT for more competition in schooling expressed this week by the Harper review of competition policy is so facile, and cast at such a high level of abstraction and in tones of faux reasonableness, that it can only be regarded as mischievous.
Schooling makes only a cameo appearance in the review’s interim report. It is relegated to Chapter 10 (on “human services”) along with aged care, health, disability support, employment services and the like. Each of these “services” is examined according to the precepts of competition theory. Is it a natural monopoly? How complex is it, and what is the nature of transactions between consumer and provider? Are there capacity constraints? Or problems in switching from one provider to another? What are the consequences of provider failure? What degree of regulation should or might governments impose…?