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The Scan’s top ten reads – August 2014

1 September 2014

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In August, The Scan published 73 posts.  Despite the increasing clamour around the government’s proposed higher education reforms, which appear doomed to fail in the Senate in their current form, it was the travails of the Victorian TAFE sector which attracted most reader interest – and by a considerable margin. For the first time ever a post in the Life & stuff category made the top ten (Team Australia – says something!).  And we seem to have made a post in July which has attracted not a single view: we’ll repost it next week – it’s timeless advice.

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An inconvenient truth

Auditor-general warns on stability of Vic TAFE
5 August 2014     |      Against all the evidence, the Victorian government insists that, despite a few local difficulties, Victoria’s TAFE system is in fine fettle.  The Victorian minister recently told a conference  the apparent troubles besetting TAFE are the invention of a “misinformed media”.  But according to the the State’s auditor-general, the troubles are very real:  TAFEs are facing a “significant decline” in financial stability due, in part, to State Government funding cuts…..[ READ MORE ]….

Net surplus/deficit by TAFE and changes in funding sources from 2012 to 2013.

Net surplus/deficit by TAFE and changes in funding sources from 2012 to 2013.

New VET panel chair attracts attention for all the wrong reasons

John Hart

John Hart

20 August 2014    |    Commonwealth industry minister Ian Macfarlane  has announced the appointment of a five-member  Vocational Education and Training Advisory Board, charged in particular with ensuring that will provide feedback to the Government as it continues reforms to the sector. The chair of the panel heads Restaurant and Catering Australia, whose RTO was initially refused re-registration last year. Macfarlane said the Australian Government is focussed on” ensuring industry has a stronger voice in the VET system”, so that it “is efficient and effective in delivering the job-ready workers that industry needs”.  The sub-text of that is that industry doesn’t have a strong influence in VET and that it is not efficient and effective in delivering job- ready workers (see Paralysis by analysis). …..[ READ MORE ]…..

Vic TAFE: risk factors deteriorate

5 August 2014   |    Overall the financial sustainability risk assessment for the Victorian TAFE sector deteriorated considerably  in 2013, according to the Victorian Auditor-General, as shown by these extracts from the report, Technical and Further Education Institutes: Results of the 2013 Audits.  Figure 5A shows that the number of TAFEs with a high financial sustainability risk increased from none in 2012 to six in 2013….[ READ MORE ]…..

Politics 101: why Pyne has failed to sell his education ‘reforms’

mortar board17 August  2014     |    Jamie Miller writes that “the long sorry saga” of Christopher Pyne’s handling of the government’s proposed higher education reforms “serves as an ideal case study of how not to go about building support for a controversial reform program”. It also demonstrates a dispiriting tendency on the part of this government to resort, not so much to “spin“,  but to out and out deception (that’s our takeout, not Miller’s)….[READ  MORE ]….

Govt likely to modify HECS repayment proposal

Photo: Andrew Taylor1 August  2014      |      The federal government is expected to ditch one of its most controversial budget measures – the plan to apply real interest rates to student debts – following advice from the architect of the HECS repayment scheme that it is unfair to poor graduates.  Modelling by education economist Bruce Chapman and Timothy Higgins has found poor graduates could pay 30% more for a degree than their high-income counterparts if the government indexes student debts at the government bond rate rather than inflation. Women who take time off work to have children would be among the hardest hit. ….[ READ MORE ]….

Qld slashes subsidies for VET courses

Budget cuts6 August 2014    |  The Queensland government has drastically slashed the range of vocational qualifications it supports.  Some 170 of the state’s certificate IV, diploma and advanced ­diploma courses no longer attract teaching subsidies, in areas from the arts, retail and business to health, community services and public safety.  The government has also removed funding for more than 30 lower-level qualifications, from pest management and conservation earthworks to shearing, firefighting and concreting. The deleted list includes about 20 courses that train people for Queensland’s four economic “pillars” of tourism, agriculture…..[ READ MORE ]….

Team Australia

7  August 2014    |    GetUp’s quick, clever and topical take on Team Australia : train passengers in  Perth rescuing a fellow passenger who had slipped into the crack between the train and the platform on 6 August.

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Team Australia

TAFE should position as the “discount HE provider”

Budget HE1 August 2014    |   NSW TAFEs have been told that they should take advantage of Coalition reforms by reinventing themselves as the “discount airline of higher education” vis-a-vis universities. We see the point but you need to be careful: TAFE ought not be – nor be seen to be – as a cheap, low quality and potentially unsafe alternative.  TigerAir gets a bad press and, from our once only experience, thoroughly deserves it.  In a report on fees and pricing strategies, consultants SMS Management and Technology told TAFE NSW that federal government proposals — specifically, the deregulation of higher education fees  and the extension of teaching grants to non-universities — would create a unique branding opportunity…..[ READ MORE ]….

The higher education reform billEducation Budget2

28 August 2014     |       The  government introduced its higher education reform legislation into Parliament – the Higher Education and Research Reform Amendment Bill 2014. As anticipated, the legislation closely mirrors the announcement on budget night. There is to be fee deregulation with a requirement that 20% of net revenue be set aside for equity scholarships. This 20% is from additional revenue raised after taking into account what was lost in the funding cuts. Students’ loans through the HELP scheme will be indexed at the 10-year bond rate from 2016 but with no loan fee and no cap on the amount students can borrow. The Commonwealth Grant Scheme rates have the 20% cut applied through the new funding tiers. The Research Training Scheme will receive the 10% cut but with the potential for universities to charge a fee to compensate…..[ READ MORE ]….

Australia’s universities

Academy

13  August 2014      |    The Scan has added new pages about Australia’s universities, including profiles and funding….[ READ MORE ]….

 

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