The Scan’s top ten reads – July 2014

1 August 2014

………………………………………………………………………………………………………Top Ten

In July, The Scan published 56 posts, somewhat down on the longterm average of about 20 a week. An issue that continues to resonate with Scan readers is the impact of “skills reform” on the future of the TAFE system, with three posts on that issue making the top ten reads list in July.  Posts dealing with the issue of university fee deregulation have also been attracting significant interest.


TAFE becoming “residualised”

Leesa4 July 2014     |       Analysis by Leesa Wheelahan (University of Toronto and LH Martin Institute) of recent VET statistics shows that TAFE’s share of publicly funded in Australia students is now 55.6%. In Victoria TAFE’s share of publicly funded students has fallen to 37.4%, while in South Australia it has fallen to 52.3%.   Private providers now teach the majority of students in Victoria (50.5%), and they teach 44% of publicly funded students in South Australia.  TAFE’s share of full-year training equivalents or student load continues to fall.   While TAFE did 81.2% of the teaching in 2009, by 2013 this had declined to 63.3%….[ READ MORE ]….

Govt sets VET deregulation agendaMacFarlane

3 July 2014    |    The government has set out its deregulatory intentions for vocational training, with industry and Registered Training Organisations set to gain greater control of the sector, and a shift away from “gateway control” to “responsive regulation”.   Speaking at a skills summit organised by the Australian Council of Private Education and Training and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, industry minister Ian Macfarlane said the government had “revisited” the work of the now abolished National Skills Standards Council (NSCC) and released new draft standards for training providers and regulators….[ READ MORE ]…..

iCollege sails close to the wind

16 July  2014    |   iCollege, an online education start-up, has defended its claims to be accredited by an international accreditation 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....[ READ MORE ]….

Setting non-university students fees 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…[READ  MORE ]….

Higher education outside the universities: a better option?Academy

3 July 2014      |       Australia has around 130 higher education providers outside the university system which enrol more than 70,000 students. These numbers could increase significantly in the future as a result of the government accepting a recommendation of the review of the demand driven funding system, to expand eligibility for government-supported tuition subsidies. In this panel discussion, the nature of the non-university higher education sector, the implications for it and its students of receiving Commonwealth tuition subsidies, and the consequences for the broader higher education system are explored. Panel members are Andrew Norton (Grattan Institute),  Mary Faraone (Holmesglen Institute), Jeannie Rea (National Tertiary Education Union) and George Brown (Study Group Australasia)….[ READ MORE ]….

Claire seeks new field

Claire Field2 July 2014    |    The private training sector has lost a key advocate following the sudden resignation on 2 July of Claire Field, the respected chief executive of the Australian Council for Private Education and Training.  In a statement ACPET said Ms Field was leaving to pursue “new challenges” after four years in the job. Company secretary Larry Davies is now acting CEO pending the appointment of a permanent successor.   The suddenness of the departure caught the sector by surprise, but ACPET chairman Martin Cass said it was entirely her decision to leave to pursue other opportunities and there was nothing to read into her departure….[ READ MORE ]….

Skills reform a “shemozzle”Jeff Cunningham

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.  He said TAFE is at risk in Australia, driven by a Council of Australian Governments policy on entitlement which is simply not working. “It’s a dog’s breakfast.”…..[ READ MORE ]….

Uni cuts blocked

Education Budget16 July 2014    |    The Abbott government’s first Budget has taken another hit after the Senate blocked $435 million in university 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 per cent 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….[ READ MORE ]….

La Trobe cuts economicsLa-Trobe_Logo_x2

27 June 2014    |     La Trobe University is planning to cut about 69 academic positions in its business, economic and law faculty with economics, accounting, management and marketing the worst hit.  Academic staff in economics will be cut by almost two-thirds to just 10 under a proposed restructure circulated to staff.    The Australian reports that academic staff positions in accounting will be cut in half from something currently over 30, though about eight new positions will be created.  La Trobe wasn’t able to confirm the exact number of jobs that will be lost in economics, but economics professor Harry Clarke has posted on his blog that proposed cuts will reduce academic positions from 28 to 10….[ READ MORE ]….

Mr Bean comes to RMIT

Martin Bean17 July 2014     |   Martin Bean, currently the vice-chancellor of the UK’s Open University, has been appointed to succeed Margaret Gardner as vice-chancellor RMIT University.  A 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….[ READ MORE ]….


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