Industrial conflict rages across the sector as the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) battles it out with universities over the terms of a new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement. An application by Monash University to suspend bans on releasing assessment results was effectively thrown out by the Fair Work Commission but a similar application by Swinburne University succeeded. Industrial action is intensifying at James Cook University, ANU and RMIT….[READ MORE]…..
University fees would be deregulated, red tape slashed and the federal government would assume more control of vocational training under a sweeping pre-election manifesto unveiled by the Business Council of Australia. The Economic Action Plan for Enduring Prosperity says market arrangements should be further embedded in universities to foster “world-class and more differentiated” specialist university courses…..[READ MORE]…..
The University of Canberra proposes to spend $15 million over the next five years on attracting top researchers as the university pushes to break into world rankings by 2018. The university has budgeted $3 million a year to attract 10 ”high performing” researchers in five specialist areas: governance, environment, communication, education and health. The recruitment drive has started with advertising in the London Times Higher Education supplement, the target of UC’s campaign being the ranking of ”young” universities, with 13 Australian universities already in their top 100…..[READ MORE]…..
Education publisher Pearson, which owns a number of brands, including Penguin and a share of The Economist, has announced that it will wind down its traditional publishing activities in the Australian vocational education and training market. As a result of these changes, 75 positions are potentially redundant. Pearson says it plans to build greater capacity and capability in its services businesses, in particular teacher professional development and course development. Pearson attributed to the decision in large part to the continuing flux in the VET system…..[READ MORE]…..
Australia’s most powerful computer has been officially launched at the opening of the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) high performance computing centre at The Australian National University (ANU). Named after the Japanese god of thunder, lightning and storms, Raijin can perform the same number of calculations in one hour that would take seven billion people armed with calculators 20 years. The supercomputer is the largest in Australia, and reputedly the 27th largest in the world, and will enable researchers to process vast volumes of data that would otherwise take years to complete, and simply not be possible using desktop computers……[READ MORE]…..
The Australian Government has commissioned a new project to map the national research and teaching capacity in the humanities and social sciences (HASS). The report will profile the HASS sectors, including trends in student enrolments and infrastructure capacity. The project will also consider how government, universities and the humanities and social sciences communities might address issues of sustainability and gaps in capability……[READ MORE]…..
Chief Scientist Ian Chubb has outlined the urgent need for a national Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) strategy and released a position paper , Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in the National Interest: a Strategic Approach. The paper highlights the central importance of investment in STEM as well as in social sciences and humanities research and education. The paper proposes a strategy with “four essential, interconnected elements”…….[READ MORE]…..
The need to move is illustrated by some simple facts of life: there is no entitlement to a particular future; there will be no free ride on the back of the accomplishments of the rest of world; or on the back of our own resources.
26 July 2013 | Deakin University Institute of Koorie Education (IKE) staff are staging daily silent protests after the removal of their director, Professor Wendy Brabham, on 15 July……[READ MORE]…..
New Race Discrimination Commissioner appointed
He is currently University of Sydney Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Democracy and Human Rights in the University of Sydney, and an opinion columnist with Fairfax Media. He is also presenter of Mongrel Nation on ABC Radio National.
Dr Soutphommasane has contributed to national and international debates about multiculturalism and national identity through his numerous books in political theory, and through his regular media commentary in print, television and radio. His research has focused on the concepts of citizenship and identity, as well the development of multicultural policy in Australia. He holds a doctorate from the University of Oxford.
He is also a board member of the National Australia Day Council, a member of the Australian Multicultural Council and a fellow of Per Capita and St James Ethics Centre. Dr Soutphommasane previously worked as a speechwriter to Bob Carr when he was NSW premier.
Dr Soutphommasane has been appointed for a period of five years and will start in the position on 20 August 2013.
Two views on Victorian TAFE reform
Victorian skills minister Peter Hall takes issue with a report by the self-described progressive think tank Per Capita, commissioned by the Victorian TAFE Association, that while contestability is OK, the way successive Victorian governments went about implementing has been somewhat less than OK. Per Capita suggests the need for stronger government direction, including caps. Hall responds that instead of wasting money on reports harking back to “good old days” of no competition and little accountability, theVTA should be supporting its members to capitalise on the opportunities the state’s system provides.
I would be the first to agree that much of what occurs in TAFE is special and continues to serve Victorians well. But does that mean it cannot stand on its own feet and prosper in an open market, as the [Per Capita] report argues?
TAFEs are businesses with a worldwide presence and turnovers of up to $200m annually. More training dollars are on the table than before and they are placed to win greater market share.
The world has moved on and TAFEs need to move with it. Instead of wasting money on reports harking back to “good old days” of no competition and little accountability, the Victorian TAFE Association should be supporting its members to capitalise on the opportunities the state’s system provides.
Every one of our 14 stand-alone TAFEs is receiving more money from government-subsidised training than it was under the previous government, while fee-for-service revenues are growing. Do we really think TAFEs should be paid more than the other community-owned providers for delivering the same certificate II in aged care or disability services?
Few areas of Australian public policy have undergone such rapid change as vocational education and training (VET) in recent years.The introduction of private provision, known as ‘contestability’, has radically reshaped the VET sector. Contestability was first embraced in Victoria in 2009 in response to a widespread skills shortage, with other states since following suit. The objectives of contestability were to increase the supply of qualified trainees, while attracting greater private investment and improving quality through competition.
In a 2008 paper, Per Capita called for a new market design in vocational training based on contestability (Cooney, 2008). Now, five years on, we evaluate the experience of contestability in Victoria against its original objectives. We find that it has succeeded in one of its primary goals: dramatically lifting the supply of new trainees.
However, there have been unexpected and damaging consequences elsewhere.
The ‘uncapping’ of the market has led to a bubble which has resulted in a $300m p.a. blow-out in public spending on VET
The London Fire Brigade has attributed a marked rise in the number of people trapped in handcuffs in recent years to the popularity of erotic fiction such as Fifty Shades of Grey. It advises people indulging in such play to “always keep the keys handy.” There are a remarkable number of things into which people insert themselves from which they need professional help to be extracted, including toasters, and vacuum cleaners. As one Brigade member observes, some of the incidents our firefighters are called out could be prevented with a little common sense.”
Policy in the Pub
- Nick Chiam, Director of Tertiary Education Policy, Department of Higher Education and Skills
- Bruce McKenzie, CEO, Holmesglen TAFE
- Claire Field, CEO, ACPET
When the political parties will not talk about the substance of higher education and research, we depend on civil society, the media, the public in all its forms, and the institutions of higher education and research themselves, to define and advance the issues.
This book is designed to stimulate and contribute to such a process of discussion.
This Fulbright Scholarship is for employees within the vocational education and training sector or training leaders in business and industry. It is not for university academics that study VET as an academic discipline. Applications close 14 August 2013.
ACPET National Conference
29-30 August | Adelaide