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Gipps2Fed Uni to take over Gippsland TAFEs

16 April 2014 |   The Victorian minister for higher education and skills, Nick Wakeling,  has announced  the formation of Advance_tafeFederation Training Institute, which will be a new TAFE Institute in Gippsland, out of the merger of Advance TAFE and GippsTAFE, the two existing TAFEs in the region. It is envisaged that Federation Training would be integrated into Federation University Australia from 1 January 2016…..[ MORE ]….

Review recommends extension of demand system

14 April 2014 |    The review of the demand driven funding system report has concluded that the demand-driven funding system, introduced as the keystone of the Rudd government’s “higher education revolution, has been a success and should be extended to non-university providers and sub-degree programs….[ MORE ]….

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Milestones

New V-C appointed at Flinders

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Flinders University has appointed Curtin University’s Colin Stirling to become its new vice-chancellor from the start of next year.

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Flinders University has appointed Curtin University’s Colin Stirling to become its new vice-chancellor from the start of next year.

Colin-StirlingCurrently Provost and Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Curtin University, Professor Stirling has been a research fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, and held senior executive positions in a 20-year career at the University of Manchester before relocating to Western Australia in 2011.

Stirling will succeed Michael Barber who retires at the end of the year.
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Comment & analysis

Re-imagining the campus in the VET sector

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A change to the treatment of publicly owned Technical and Further Education (TAFE) facilities has the potential to exacerbate existing problems in the Australian vocational education and training (VET) sector, writes Mary Leahy.

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FEDERAL BUDGET 2013 PACKAGE

The federal minister for industry, Ian Macfarlane, expressed concern that TAFE assets are underused. He signalled interest in following the Queensland government approach, which allows non-TAFE registered training organisations (RTOs) access to TAFE facilities for the delivery of training.

To assess the implications, this idea needs to be seen in the context of the Australian VET sector. Major government reforms are reshaping the VET landscape. These include the allocation of government funding for non-TAFE training organisations and the more recent introduction of demand-driven funding models.

Underpinning these reforms are some important assumptions. The main one is the view that a training market is the most efficient way of allocating scarce public resources. We do not have an unregulated market. Even the most laissez faire of Australian governments recognises the risk of market failure.

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Is “market failure” emerging?

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All the signs point to evidence that neglect and a rush towards privatisation are dragging the vocational sector into crisis.

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For sale3After four years of marketisation in Victoria, there are certainly signs of, at least, incipient market failure in that jurisdiction. There have been numerous TAFE campus closures, particularly in the peri-urban fringe and throughout regional Victoria. Even larger, well established and strong TAFE metropolitan institutes, such as NMIT, have been severely affected, with consequent scaling down of activity in some areas.

The most publicised closure has been the former Lilydale campus of Swinburne University, announced in (DATE), which provided both VET and higher education in purpose built facilities to several thousand students. The former campus site sits at the gateway to the Yarra Valley and the Gippsland region, which has generally poor levels of education attainments. The region contains low socio economic pockets, significant population of young Indigenous people, high levels of student disengagement and low levels of tertiary and vocational education. The availability of tertiary and vocational education at Lilydale has acted as a positive incentive for many disadvantaged people to continue their education.

Intensive efforts to attract other education providers to the site have failed and the site is now on the general market and may well be lost to training and education altogether. The Lilydale campus had a relatively comprehensive range of training and education offerings and there is no sign at all that the hole created by its closure is being filled or, indeed, that it can be filled.

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17 April 2014

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An Easter sculpture at a busy St. Kilda intersection protests against Australia asylum seeker policy.

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Crucifix

Barbed wire figures of a father, mother and child hang from the imposing crucifixes, with plaques bearing the names of offshore detention centres Nauru, Christmas and Manus islands.

The Rev John Tansey installed the three life-size wooden crucifixes outside the Uniting Church at the corner of Chapel and Carlisle Sts, aiming to draw a parallel between the deterrence aims of crucifiction in Roman times and offshore processing.

Tansey says the sculptures are not blasphemous but “based on a proper theology of the cross”.

Whatever one thinks of the message, it’s a powerful comment and stunning art.
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