Education with social justice: public interest vs private benefit
While contemporary Australia views tertiary education as predominately a private good, it is argued that a university educated population creates substantial public benefit, and is in the public interest. Such a contrast in perceptions is problematic to the creation of policies to meet the social justice rights of students. A representative survey of the financial circumstances of second year accounting students at a regional Australian university is undertaken to create a social report of student circumstances. Both survey data and reflective written comments are recorded to describe a social account of the student experience. This is relevant in two respects, first it reports contemporary Australian tertiary student circumstances, and secondly it contributes to the sparse but emerging accounting literature of social reporting. The study concludes that the exploitation of students in their employment with respect to rates of pay and hours worked challenge current policy and give visibility to the social justice needs of students.