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Evocca accused of rorting

27 January 2015One of the country’s largest training colleges had just 19 students graduate from any Evocca1of its courses in a single year, reigniting concerns about the training sector. Data on the MySkills website showed Evocca College enrolled almost 14,000 students in 2012 but just 19 graduated. The company disputes the figures but others suggest they supported ongoing concerns about some players in the training industry. A former student has also accused Evocca of plagiarising course content from Wikipedia…..[ MORE ]…..

Academic Gongs

Order of Australia227 January 2015      |     635 Australians have been recognised with Orders of Australia on Australia Day 2015, while a further 59 military and 130 meritorious awards were announced. Members of the tertiary education sector featured strongly in the honours list, with 81 awards, particularly in the upper categories. People associated with the tertiary sector received 4 out of the 5 Companion awards (80%), 16 out of 38 Officer awards were to people associated with the tertiary sector (42%), 46 of 156 Member awards (29.5%), for a 33% of the higher awards. In the most common category of Medal, only 15 of 434 awards were tertiary sector related people (3.4%). Women continue to be under represented with 33% of all awards, mainly in the Medal category. Only four of the tertiary sector awards were to people in the VET sector. It goes back to the old ICBY motto: “you gotta to be in it to win it”. Unless you’re the Duke of Edinburgh, you’ve got to be nominated….[ MORE ]…..

NSW uni offers

As in Victoria, the traditional January main round of university offers in NSW, through the UACUniversity Admissions Centre (UAC), is decreasing in prominence in the calendar. Offers through the year and direct offers are becoming increasingly the norm. This year, universities have made 46,507 offers through UAC ‘s main round, down 4,307 (- 9%) on last year. But the total number of offers to date is actually up a little, at 76,339, up 1,542 ( + 2%) from last year’s 74,792. So, main round offers through UAC are now about 62% compared to 68% last year and almost 100% four or five years ago…..[ MORE ]…..

Victorian tertiary offers 2015

vtac220 January 2015     |     Over 69,000 applicants have received an offer, through the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC), for a place at a Victorian university, some private higher education colleges and for some courses at TAFE institutes. .University offers totalled about 57,000 out of about 68,000 applications, meaning a “success rate” of 84%, compared to 85% in 2014 but way ahead of the 75% rate in 2009, the year that places began to be uncapped. The average Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) for entry declined slightly, from 69.3 in 2014 to 68.1 in 2015.The data need to be interpreted with a little circumspection: it’s very hard to compare this year with past years and seek to extrapolate any future trend. We’re seeing quite significant changes in patterns and practices of application and selection. For example, an ATAR is now not relevant to 50% of university applications; it’s really now only relevant in respect of current Year 12 applicants. In addition an increasing proportion of both applications and offers now occur outside the VTAC framework and the traditional January “main round” of offers. This year VTAC conducted a pilot of direct applications, allowing someone to apply directly to an institution for a single approved course, rather than through VTAC. In fact, VTAC actually accounts for somewhat less than 50% of offers these days. So, on the face of it, there has been a marked decline, for example in “non year” (that is, mature age) applicants of 9% (and one assumes offers). Regional applications are down 10%. It might be surmised that this reflects concerns about prospective fee increases and “$100,000 degrees”. It may well be in part, but more likely changes in application and offer processes are a bigger part of the explanation….[ Read More ]…..

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Newcastle quits IRU

22 December  2014    |      Newcastle University has quit the Innovative Research Universities (IRU)Newcastle logo group, saying it would rather advocate for its own particular interests in light of proposed government funding cuts and fee deregulation. Along with other university groupings and Universities Australia, the IRU has been a vocal advocate for proposed fee deregulation. Caroline McMillen, Newcastle’s vice-chancellor, said the university’s research intensiveness in a low socioeconmic region put pressures on her institution that were not necessarily mirrored by the IRU’s other member universities. The combination of a 20% funding cut and restrictions on possible fee increases due to the socioeconomic make-up of the Newcastle region put particular pressures on Newcastle. The city has a $200 a week lower median wage than Sydney, she said….[ MORE ]….

Abbott reunifies education and training…

…and unifies industry and science

Abbott reshuffle21 December 2014    |      In a wideranging reshuffle of the Abbott ministry, education and vocational education and training have been seemingly reunified and industry and science unified. Education minister Christopher Pyne will become minister for education and training, with VET coming from the industry portfolio to be reunified with education. Parliamentary secretary Simon Birmingham will become his new assistant minister, with prime minister Abbott saying he will have a key role in policy and programs relating to skills formation. Current assistant education minister Sussan Ley has been appointed to the cabinet post of minister for health, making her the second woman in the Abbott cabinet after foreign minister Julie Bishop. Amid criticism for not having a clear science ministry, industry minister Ian Macfarlane will be rebranded as minister for industry and science, and Karen Andrews will become his assistant minister….[ MORE ]….

ACN float flounders

18 December 2014    |     Education and training provider Australian Careers Network has seen its Ivan Brownshares sink 20% on its Australian Securities Exchange debut, with investors remaining wary of companies exposed to the vocational education sector. The shares opened at $1.30 on 15 December, 23% below the listing price of $1.70, and closed the day at $1.36. The Melbourne-based company was forced to delay and scale back a planned $100 million float, raising $54.4m in a listing handled by Petra Capital, after investor sentiment soured following troubles at fellow education provider Vocation Limited. Ivan Brown, ACN’s chief executive, said timing is everything: “We picked the worst possible time in human history to try and list an education float. That’s life, what do you about it.”….[ MORE ]….

VCE 2014

vce15 December 2014     |     Almost 83,000 Victorian students have received their Year 12 results. This year, 49,204 students – 26,259 female students and 22,945 male students – have graduated with their Victorian Certificate of Education and 47,032 secondary school students have received an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank. 14,728 students received a study score of 40 or more in at least one subject. In addition, 12,926 students completed a VCAL certificate in 2014, the most since the introduction of the program 12 years ago….[ MORE ]….

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MYEFO budget measures

australian-dollar-3dThe Mid-year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO), released on 15 December, updates the economic and fiscal outlook from the budget in May.  Following is a summary prepared by ACPET of savings and expenditure measures relevant to the education, employment and training sectors.

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Comment & analysis

 18  December 2014

Higher education changes a ‘fraud on the electorate’

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Stephen Parker, vice-chancellor of the University of Canberra, has been a loud, lone dissenting voice among the vice-chancellors over the government’s higher education deregulation package, strenuously opposing from the start, describing it as “a potentially calamitous package” for students and the country. He’s been particularly critical of the qualified support offered by Universities Australia, which he depicts as “an organisation with necrotizing fasciitis – the condition where the body eats its own flesh”. And he says the peak organisation is doomed, having lost its “moral compass” and that he won’t be attending further meetings. Parker expanded on the theme in a speech delivered to the National Alliance for Public Universities on 1 December.

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 Michelle McAulay/AAP Image

Michelle McAulay/AAP Image

Had someone told me last summer that I would be defending public universities on the first day of next summer I would have ridiculed the idea.

Somehow I believed what the Coalition wrote in early 2013: that there would be no change to university funding arrangements. Somehow I believed what Tony Abbott said to the Universities Australia conference in March 2013: that we could expect a period of benign neglect from an Abbott government. And somehow I believed what Abbott said two days before the election in September 2013: that there would be no cuts to education.

It is the last of these canards that is so shocking. Abbott knew he was going to win, so he didn’t even need to promise it to gain votes.

But here we are and here I am.

A further surprise has been to find myself the only Vice-Chancellor to say publicly what at least a few actually believe. I have tried to understand other Vice-Chancellors’ perspectives. I’ve worked at Group of Eight and more modern universities. I was the Senior DVC at Monash. I know the pressures, but nothing justifies the position that they and Universities Australia have taken.

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University funding system in England ‘not sustainable”

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The funding system for higher education in England is not sustainable and a better funding model must be developed, according to a critical report by the Higher Education Commission.

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Too good

The UK coalition government’s decision to allow fees to triple in 2012-13, and the system of student loans and grants developed alongside the hike, was supposed to lead to a more marketised system of higher education, raising standards while pushing prices down, resulting in better qualified graduates for less money. The report concludes:

This has not happened. Introducing market forces to a sector that does not operate as a market puts the financial sustainability of the sector at risk; the commission recommends retreating from this notion.

The reports says that with little in the way of career advice or access to information, students do not feel or act like consumers and brand plays too big a role in the decision of which university to go to. Demand continues to outstrip supply and there is less choice for students than is perceived.

The “experiment” underway in higher education could have “consequences stretching decades into the future”, the report warns.

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Life & stuff

17 December 2014

Go safely this Christmas

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In December, 1989 the first Traffic Accident Commission road safety commercial went to air. In that year the Victorian road toll was 776; by last year, it had fallen to 229 but is already at 243 this year.

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A five minute retrospective of the road safety campaigns produced by the TAC over the last 20 years illustrates the trauma of road accidents . The montage features iconic scenes and images from commercials that have helped change they way we drive, all edited to the moving song Everybody Hurts by REM.

It’s graphic stuff but reminds us all, for everyone’s sake, drive/ride/walk safely.

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Click to listen

Click to listen

Radio Double Karma on Pandora

Adult contemporary music

The Fray…London Grammar…Leonard Cohen…Dixie Chicks…Peter Gabriel…Of Monsters and Men…Krishna Das…Cold Play…Snow Patrol….Clck hereAretha Franklin

You do need to sign up to listen but it’s free (for the first 40 hours a month)

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