13 Sep 2010

Gillard defends splitting education portfolio

2:01 pm on 13 September 2010

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has defended the decision to split the education portfolio between two ministers in her post-election Cabinet shake-up.

Scrapping the title of Education Minister, Ms Gillard has appointed Peter Garrett as the Minister for Schools, Early Childhood and Youth, while Senator Chris Evans becomes Minister for Jobs, Skills and Workplace Relations.

She says Senator Evans will share some of the responsibility for higher education policies.

But the body representing Australia's universities says it is disappointed that the title of Education Minister has gone.

Universities Australia chairman Professor Peter Coaldrake says the omission of a reference to education may signal an inadequate understanding of the role higher education plays.

He says higher education is a significant contributor to skills and jobs and deserves formal recognition.