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A milestone

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exclamation2This is The Scan’s 2000th post since we went to this particular format in February 2012 (although The Scan itself dates from June 2010 – check out the first Scan).  These are the top ten posts and they’re actually quite representative of what The Scan “does”. Obviously, we’re a news aggregator: we take news from other outlets and try to put it into digestible form for busy people (which was the original purpose of The Scan). But we also provide independently sourced news and commentary. And we cover the whole of the tertiary sector: higher education and VET, public and private. We don’t cover everything – and never could – but we try to cover what matters. This selection is split evenly between higher education and VET, between “news” and “views” and split more or less evenly over three years.

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The shemozzle of skills reform

VET reform

Is that right?

24 July 2014    |    Skills reform in Australia is an “absolute shemozzle” and is jeopardising a world-class vocational education and training system, says Jeff Gunningham, recently retired chief executive of TAFE South Australia. But the apparent troubles besetting TAFE are the invention of a “misinformed media”, according to the Victorian minister. Gunningham told the Victorian TAFE Association conference that bureaucratic bungling and an obsession with the bottom line is degrading training and threatening the existence of public TAFE institutes. “Au contraire” according to the Victorian minister: it’s a media confection…..[ MORE ]….

iCollege sails close to the wind

19 July 2014   |    iCollege, an online education start-up, has defended its claims to be accredited by an international tafe-qualsaccreditation agency – the International Vocational Standards and Accreditation Agency (IVSAA) – that is registered to its own address, saying an equivalent couldn’t be found so they had to set up their own. Victor Hawkins, managing director of the newly ASX-listed company, said its claim that it “has adopted the IVSAA’s “Code of Professional Conduct” is not duplicitous, even though its website does not make clear the IVSAA is registered to the same Subiaco Perth address as iCollege. Hawkins said the iCollege directors established IVSAA after it could find no equivalent agency. VET sector commentators have suggested iCollege is sailing close to the wind, in giving the impression that it and the range of courses it’s marketing have some sort of official standing: the iCollege website proclaims that iCollege is “Recognised: We are accredited by International Vocational Standards and Accreditation Agency.” National VET regulation legislation makes it is an offence to imply that non-accredited training is accredited training. And ASDQA advises that training providers’ promotional material should clearly define which courses are accredited and which are not accredited.
iCollege clearly fails that tes….[ MORE ]….

Setting non-university student subsidy gets tricky

mortar board17 July 2014 | With the Higher Education Legislation and Financing Working Group having delivered its advice to the government on extending public subsidies to student places at non-university higher education providers, the speculation is that it will be proposing a considerably lower rate for these providers and for sub-degree programs. The Australian Council of Private Education and Training (ACPET) isn’t particularly happy. A review of budget documents by The Australian indicates that if the higher education reforms announced in the Budget are implemented, undergraduates can expect to attract an average of about $4950 a year in commonwealth support. But this drops to $2990 for diploma, advanced diploma and associate degree students. Separately, analyst Gavin Moodie says that students in the field of “society and culture” will have a subsidy of $6,021 in universities, but estimates that, on the information available, a subsidy of $4,275 in the same field at a non-university provider would be a reasonable estimate…..[ MORE ]….

Uni cuts blocked

16 July 2014 | The Abbott government’s first Budget has taken another hit after the Senate blocked $435 million in Education Budget2university cuts originally proposed by Labor. The vote is the first indication of how the new Senate may vote on the government’s sweeping higher education reform agenda, which includes a full deregulation of fees, a 20% across-the-board course funding cut and increased interest on student debts. A UMR Research poll, commissioned by the National Tertiary Education Union, has identified strong opposition to key Budget measures. An average of 69% of people opposed increasing student fees and 65% opposed cutting public funding to universities……[ MORE ]….

Macquarie takes a new path

Navitas17 July 2014 | Macquarie University is to end an 18 year association with private provider Navitas to establish its own college for domestic and international students seeking a pathway from high school into university. The university’s pathway programs are currently managed by the private higher education company Navitas through the Sydney Institute of Business and Technology (SIBT), which operates the university’s city campus. SIBT has been providing pre-university Certificate and Diploma Programs. Upon successful completion of a SIBT Diploma, students can enter the appropriate Macquarie University Bachelor degree program as a second-year student. Over 20,000 SIBT graduates have gone on to graduate from Macquarie University since 1997…..[ MORE ]….

Policy Online in line for internet award

17 July 2014 | Policy Online has been shortlisted as a finalist in the 2014 Australian and New Zealand Internet Awards (ANZIA). Policy Online is a database and alert service that provides free access to full text research reports, papers, APOstatistics and other resources essential for public policy development and implementation in Australia and New Zealand. There are 29 finalists for the ANZIAs, that recognise Australia and New Zealand’s leading contributors to the use and development of the Internet. Policy Online features an open access database with over 19,000 research listings. Publications are listed from over 2,500 organisations and journals in Australia, New Zealand and beyond….[ MORE ]….

International student numbers up 10%

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14 July 2014 | The latest monthly international enrolment and commencement report shows a 10% increase in full-fee paying international students on May last year. China and India accounted for 38.4% and 9.0% respectively of enrolments by students in higher education. India had the largest share of total enrolments (18.6%) and of total commencements (16.2%) in vocational education and training, with China providing 9.9% of enrolments….[ MORE ]….

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Mr Bean comes to RMIT

17 July 2014

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Martin Bean, currently the vice-chancellor of the UK’s Open University, has been appointed to succeed Margaret Gardner as vice-chancellor RMIT University.
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Martin BeanA global leader in managing the intersection between education and technology, Martin Bean has placed The Open University in a very strong position, maintaining its top-five position for student satisfaction in the UK’s National Student Survey, with scores of more than 90%, while continuing to consolidate its world- class research profile.

Before joining The Open University, Mr Bean was General Manager Worldwide Education Products Group at Microsoft, following executive leadership roles at Novell and other IT companies integrating technology and learning systems.
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Swinburne’s new chancellor

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Swinburne University of Technology has appointed Mr Graham Goldsmith as its new Chancellor, succeeding Bill Scales.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………….…Graham Goldsmith

Graham Goldsmith is a respected figure in the Australian financial services industry and an experienced company director and community leader with a deep commitment to education.

Mr Goldsmith will take up the office of Chancellor after Bill Scales AO concludes almost 9 years of outstanding leadership of Swinburne’s Council in August 2014.

Swinburne’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Linda Kristjanson, paid tribute to the enormously valuable contribution made by Bill Scales and welcomed the incoming Chancellor.

Bill Scales has overseen a period of tremendous growth, innovation and progress at Swinburne. The contribution he has made to the development of Swinburne as a world-class university cannot be understated. Under his stewardship, student numbers have grown significantly and our research achievements have seen Swinburne promoted into the top 400 universities in the world. The University also established Swinburne Online as a joint venture with Seek, which has significantly expanded the reach of Swinburne’s programs beyond Victoria.

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Talking heads

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Free creative careers seminar series.
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Talking Heads

From radio to TV and music to photography: hear from experts who have made it in the industries they love. 23 July to 15 October : Melbourne Polytechnic, 144 High St Prahran.

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Comment & analysis

Regional educators fear TAFE changes

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17 July 2014 | Educators are concerned that regional students will be affected by NSW government changes that will see the vocational education and training sector opened up to the private sector report ABC Radio’s Bush Telegraph.
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TAFE NSW3Critics believe the changes under the Smart and Skilled policy will see course fees increase and will preclude many regional students from pursuing further education.

Kathy Nicholson, an organiser with the NSW Teachers Federation and former head teacher at Inverell TAFE in northern NSW, says TAFE has been a much valued pathway for vocational training for regional students. For some who left school early, it has also offered a second chance to gain higher education. Ms Nicholson believes this pathway is being eroded in NSW as well as other states around the country as governments open up the sector to competition.

Brendan Sheehan, a senior fellow at the LH Martin Institute at the University of Melbourne, says there have been radical changes to TAFE in Victoria since successive state governments opened up the sector between 2008 and 2011. He says other states should learn the lessons from Victoria, where the TAFE sector has suffered job losses and campus closures.

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Click here to listen

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Senate faces choice between good policy or cheap politics

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Vicki-Thomson-photoWith the new look Senate now in place there are scary times ahead for the higher education sector, writes Vicki Thomson of the Australian Technology Network. The Senate has already knocked off higher education savings of $435m initiated by the former Labor government – drawing accusations of hypocrisy from education minister Christopher Pyne. This may put at risk other reforms, on cost grounds, such as the extension of Commonwealth Supported Places to students at non-university providers, or the perceived unpopularity of measures such as fee deregulation. Thomson says that the ATN is a reluctant supporter of fee deregulation but sees it as the only practical means of sustaining the quality of the university sector. She suggests that to reject fee deregulation out of hand — “the easy path of populism and publicity” — would be to sign the ultimate “death warrant on a globally respected higher education system”.
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It is, of course, far too early to know how the new band of independents will perform. But with the future of the higher education sector — from fee deregulation to equity — in their hands, I openly can admit I harbour concerns. The subject matter ahead for the new senators is highly complex and it would be far easier for them to reject the government’s legislative changes outright.

There is also the risk the new independent senators may seek populism and publicity over policy. I can well imagine that in the hothouse of attention that will follow their every move, it may well prove hard to manage the avalanche of dense legislation and lobbying.

In the full glare of the media, there might be short-term kudos from taking the path of least resistance: after all, there’s not much negative publicity from falling into line with the government. The media attention comes from making a government’s life difficult.

Universities and future, current and past students are facing the most significant and far-reaching reforms in decades. Much is at stake.

Agreeing with fee deregulation, as we do at the Australian Technology Network, has not been an easy decision. But you don’t need university-level maths to recognise that having embraced it, the demand-driven system was a recipe for financial disaster.
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TDA Conf

The 2014 TDA National Conference will be held in Sydney at the Sheraton on the Park from 31 August – 2 September. register______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Zeitgeist

 The face of grief

24 July 2014

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Children in Eynesbury, Victoria, attend a memorial service for a local family of five killed in the destruction of MH17 .
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MH17 memorial

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Six big questions

PaulDavies_0Renowned cosmologist and best-selling author Paul Davies will give the inaugural public lecture in the UNSW Big Questions Series on Tuesday 29 July.

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Click to listen

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Radio Double Karma on Pandora

Adult contemporary music

The Fray…London Garmmar…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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