First Published in 1999

The merger (read takeover) of Deakin University Pty Ltd by Coles Myer raises a number of academic and corporate questions.

Do I get Flybuys with each subject I pass at Deakin and if so, do I get more Flybuys for an H1 than an H2A? If a corporate performance incentive isn't built into the marketing... er... marking system, then it's hard to see the point of the merger.

If the purchase of 500 Coles Myer shares provides discounts at Coles Myer outlets can the number of units I need to pass for my degree be similarly discounted? Or could the pass mark be lowered by 10 percent if I'm doing a Myer-sposored subject or 5 percent if it is a Coles-sponsored subject?

The commercialization of education opens up untold opportunities and the credit really should go to that famous American who gave so much money to Oxford Univesity that one of the colleges created the Rupert Murdoch chair of English in his honor.

I believe they have units incorporating "GOTCHA!" 144-point headlines and Page Three Undressed Women. A new subject being offered is "Total and complete fabrications 101" and "Racism, sexism and other bigotries for beginners 102".

Coles Myer Deakin Plc Pty Ltd could offer the Kerry Packer School of Tax Management, the Christopher Skase Chair in Foreign Invesment and perhaps the Bruno Grollo Faculty of Architecture. A proposal for the John Howard Poetry Foundation failed to attract enough investors and the float was shelved. The CSR School of Dentistry and Waste Disposal initially seemed an odd combination, but with the right corporate management profile adjustment looks set to chew up and spit out older competitors.

With Australian mums and dads looking for safe investments for their retirement what could be better than the John Elliot School of Deportment at Deakin's Waverly campus? With an initial purchase of just 1000 shares at $5 each, investors receive 10 lessons from fully qualified lecturers in public speaking, fundraising, the basics of table manners and the dos and don'ts of smoking in high society. So to speak. Along with a set of steak knives (sorry, no prizes for vegetarians) each investor also receives a family membership to Carlton Football Club or a single individual membership to any other AFL club. It's educational.

And why stop there? Along with the McDonald's Franchised Secondary Colleges and the KFC VCE, Victoria could be home to the first 500 Coca Cola Kindergartens and the all-new Pepsi Primaries.

Schools should not be restricted to in-house teaching staff. The contracting out of educational work units is the obvious next step and there is no reason at all that the Amcor-Visy Forest Management Course should not be the lead tender for our children's environmental studies classes.

Religion has always been a difficult subject for government schools but those religions able to guarantee the best return for their local community would be expected to win their respective tenders.

Given the prevailing corporate climate, 30 pieces of silver seems to be the obvious starting point.

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