18/12/14

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Christmas 2014 (2)_______________________________________

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 ]….

School leavers opt for university

11 December 2014     |     The introduction of the uncapped demand-driven system for universities is seemingly driving changes in participation in ncver-logotertiary education, with far fewer young people undertaking vocational education and training (VET) in favour of higher education, according to a report published by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), Young people in education and training 2013. The report showed 55.4% of 15 to 19 year olds are at school; 15.6% are in higher education; 5.1% are undertaking an apprenticeship or traineeship; and 5.3% are enrolled in publicly funded VET programs. The steady participation rate in education and training of 81.3% reflects a 1.0% increase in school enrolments, a 5.2% increase in higher education and a 7.1% decrease in publicly funded VET programs compared with 2012. Obviously, that leaves an alarmingly high 18.7% of young people not engaged in education and training although a good proportion of those will be undertaking some form of gap year and some will be in paid employment. Other reporting, such as the Victorian On track survey, indicates that the non-participation rate is much higher in regional and rural areas than metropolitan areas (35% vs 24% in Victoria in 2013)…..[ MORE ]….

ACPET revises Code of Ethics

Print10 December 2014   |    The significant media scrutiny of the quality of vocational education and training by certain private providers has led the Australian Council of Private Education and Training (ACPET) to revise its Code of Ethics, particularly around using the services of agents and brokers. ACPET says the revision of the Code is a strategy to help ensure “the industry take(s) responsibility for (its) own quality journey, to demonstrate that we aspire to the highest in quality and provide quality assurance for students, industry and government in dealing with ACPET members.” ACPET proposes to establish a list of “preferred” agents and brokers, who have committed to adhering to the Code….[ MORE ]….

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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

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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

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