University of Sydney’s associate professor, Peter McCallum, said the 17-week course is not offered exclusively to Scots College students and that it is open to all schools.
Last year, the University of Sydney approved a pilot scheme in which the Diploma of Tertiary Preparation (DTP) was recognised as a university entrance pathway – the same way that an International Baccalaureate and TAFE are pathways to university.
The DTP is primarily targeted towards mature-aged students who have not completed the Higher School Certificate (HSC).
However, reports surfaced claiming that the DTP was being offered exclusively to Scots College students, drawing the ire of NSW Education Minister, Adrian Piccoli, who called the scheme “unfair”.
However, McCallum told the ABC on Tuesday that the bridging course – run through his university’s subsidiary, Sydney Learning - is available to all students from all schools, providing they demonstrate the required standards.
“It doesn’t offer an advantage to Scots because it offers the same opportunity for anyone from any school if they can demonstrate the required standards,” McCallum told the ABC’s Richard Glover.
Glover slammed the high-cost of the $12,000 program, saying that the university was “auctioning off” the course – a claim rejected by McCallum.
“It costs money to run a program. It’s not fair to say just because we have a fee-paying course we’re auctioning university places,” McCallum said.
“Unfortunately we don’t live in a society where there is free education beyond a secondary level.”
There were concerns that the Scots program may impact on the availability of places for other students, however the only difference is that rather than being held at the university, Scots College offers its students the opportunity to sit the course on its own campus.