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The Scan | Edition #162 | 5 September 2014

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SA TAFE jobs to go – in bulk 

5  September  2014      |       SA TAFE jobs are set to be slashed by almost a third over the next four years as part of a cost-cutting drive, raising fears a training shortfall will hit just as theTAFE SA 2 automotive sector shuts down. A leaked parliamentary briefing note prepared for Employment, Higher Education and Skills Minister Gail Gago shows TAFE’s full-time job cap will fall by 814 by 2017-18. The Government announced cuts to TAFE in the June Budget where it revealed almost 300 jobs would go over 12 months. However, Gago was unable to detail the full four-year impact of the State Government’s savings drive when questioned in Budget Estimates. The briefing note shows TAFE’s current full-time equivalent cap of 2609 jobs will fall to 1795 in 2017-18 as the Government’s annual spend on the sector drops by $94 million to $251 million…..[ MORE ]……

Reform bill referred to committee 

mortar board4 September 2014    |    The government’s higher education reform package has been referred to the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee for consideration and report by 28 October. The Higher Education and Research Reform Amendment Bill 2014 would deregulate tuition fees, break the public university monopoly on teaching subsidies, shift more university costs from government to students, and make students pay more and earlier on their tuition loans. The bill is facing a difficult passage through the Senate, with Labor and the Greens implacably opposed to the bill in its entirety and Palmer United Party senators confirming their opposition today …..[ MORE ]……

Women and average income earners hit hardest by loan changesFees arrow

4 September 2014     |    Under proposed changes to Australia’s higher education sector University graduates, especially women, can expect a substantial increase in the time taken to pay off their student loans, an analysis by the Melbourne Institute at the University of Melbourne has found. The report, Impact of the Australian Higher Education Funding Reforms, found that repayment periods will often double for people earning a median income 10 years after graduation – this is around $83,000 for males and about $60,000 for females. For women on median female graduate incomes, the time taken to repay student debt will increase from 12 to 26 years ….[ MORE ]……

Chubb releases science strategy 

Ian Chubb3 September 2014    |   Chief Scientist Ian Chubb has released his recommendations for a strategic approach to science and its related fields.  Speaking at its release at Parliament House, Chubb said that his strategy report Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics: Australia’s Future outlines what needs to be done  to build a stronger, more competitive Australia, observing that “science is infrastructure and it is critical to our future”.  Chubb reiterated that Australia is the only OECD country without a science or technology strategy. He siad  65% of Australia’s economic growth in recent decades can be ascribed to technological innovations and better use of capital and labour, mostly made possible by investing in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The 37-page final report offers 24 recommendations around four “principle fields” ….[ MORE ]……

Call for caps to limit fee hikes 

3 September 2014    |    There are growing calls support for some mechanism, such as a price or loan cap, to limit excessive fee rises under fee deregulation. The possibility Price capof steep fee rises in a deregulated system are real, driven by long-term underfunding of the sector and the lack of price sensitivity among students due to -income-contingent loans, according to a number of commentators and some vice-chancellors. Bruce Chapman, the so-called “architect” of HECS, says that there needs to be a trade-off between equity and price sensitivity and that without price caps the debts students incurred to attend the most sought-after courses would become “very, very big”. Chapman says a cap on loans is his preferred option…..[ MORE ]……

Vic TAFE “close to collapse” 

decline (1)2 September 2014    |    Victoria’s TAFE system is near collapse, according to Victoria’s Labor opposition, after $1.2 billion in government cuts. The Victorian Training Market Half Year Report shows that TAFEs’ share of the training market dropped from 48% in the first half of 2010 to just 27% in the first half of 2014. Government subsidised enrolments continued to decrease for the first half of 2014, with a 5% drop from the same time in 2013. The report also showed enrolments in regional Victoria dropped by 12%, and traineeship enrolments dropped by 25% in the same period…….[ MORE ]……

Rise in youth unemployment ‘a result of traineeship cuts’

...not so available now

…not so available now

2 September 2014     |     Recent rises in youth unemployment in Victoria and elsewhere in Australia are a result of cuts to traineeships, according to Federation UniversityAustralia researcher Professor Erica Smith. Research has confirmed the high standard of many traineeships and particularly the role that they play in assisting young people and disadvantaged people into employment. However, over the last three years the Commonwealth government, beginning under Labor, has progressively withdrawn the small amounts of funding provided to employers to help them set up and run traineeship programs. From 2012 in Victoria, the State Government has reduced funding for the training in those occupations in which the majority of young people used to find their first jobs, often through a traineeship: retail and hospitality. Nationally, figures have declined by 20% in the past year (with Victoria at nearly 25%) with ‘non-trades’ commencements (ie traineeship commencements) falling by 31%……[ MORE ]……

Camm heads for ACPET

Rod Camm21 September 2014    |     After just a year as managing director of NCVER,  Rod Camm is moving on to become CEO of the Australian Council of Private Education and Training (ACPET), which became vacant following the sudden resignation of Claire Field in early July 2014.  Camm has had a long career in the vocational education and training (VET) field.  Prior to his appointment at NCVER he held the position of CEO of Skills Queensland. Before that he was Associate Director-General of the Queensland Department of Education and Training, and CEO of Construction Skills Queensland. He has performed numerous other executive roles across government and has sustained an excellent relationship with industry……[ MORE ]……

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Comment & analysis

A cap on fees?

 5 September 2014

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In all of the debate about the government’s plans for higher education, what people seem to worry about most is the prospect of ballooning student fees, with predictions of A$100,000 degrees or more. So why doesn’t the government just cap fees? It seems simple enough, but the reality is more complex, writes Gavin Moodie. There are basically three views on capping fees.

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$100,000

1. They’re not required in a market

This theory says institutions that charge excessive fees will lose students to those that charge lower fees. This view has been put by Education Minister Christopher Pyne many times. Most recently, when he was asked about the possibility of fees in the hundreds of thousands of dollars,  Pyne replied:

That’s not possible because the competition won’t allow it to happen. If a university decides to charge exponentially higher fees they will have empty lecture theatres and empty tutorials because part of this of course is the expansion of competition, the capacity to compete on price. If a university charges fees that are too high, people won’t go to that university and because we have so many universities and so many private providers, there will always be other options.

This argument has also been put in The Conversation and in many other places, where fees for international students and for domestic fee-paying postgraduate students are given as examples of fee markets working appropriately.

But international student fees are not backed by income-contingent loans and a relatively low proportion of domestic postgraduate students take out loans, for various reasons. These are therefore not good models for unregulated fees for domestic undergraduate students backed by universal and unlimited loans.

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Higher ed bill: what’s likely to pass and what’s likely to be be blocked

AUSTRALIA - EDUCATION - PROTEST

The higher education bill has been debated by students, university leaders and the opposition. What is likely to pass and what will be blocked? AAP

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The higher education reform bill , if passed, it will result in the most significant changes to the Australian higher education system since the Dawkins reforms a quarter of a century ago. However, it is unlikely to make it through the Senate in its current form.   Education Minister Christopher Pyne has as much as accepted this. He is prepared for a marathon, not a sprint, suggesting it might take until November before the Senate decides the fate of the bill.  Tim Pitman (Curtin University) assesses the likelihood of passage of the various elements and in what form.

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Higher education isn’t like other markets

5  September 2014

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The government’s higher education reform package has been referred to the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee for consideration and report by 28 October.  Leo Goedegebuure, director of the LH Martin Institute, argues that “if higher education policy research has resulted in anything significant over the last decades, it is the almost uniform agreement that unregulated market coordination does not work”.  Just look to the “mother of all unregulated systems” in the US and the concerns of US families and policy-makers.

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Go8 Equity scales

Tertiary education is an experiential good, meaning that the value of it can only be truly assessed a number of years after consumption.

Further complicating simple ideas about price is the fact that enrolling in tertiary education is not a simple transaction in which you buy something tangible. The outcome is also the result of the time and energy you invest yourself. As buying a gym membership doesn’t make you healthier, enrolling in university doesn’t fill you with knowledge. This makes an accurate evaluation of its price difficult.

The higher education market, like any other market, has imperfections. Higher education providers are in a pretty good position to keep negative information out of the public domain given there are no effective consumer organisations in the sector.  This is made worse by the fact that Australia has a relatively small higher education sector dominated by a few big players.  Opening it up to private providers will only marginally alter this.

We have been assured by many university spokespersons that an extreme hike in fees will not occur.  In the past Australian universities have demonstrated they are socially responsible organisations.  From this some solace can be derived. But we should not forget that the stakes are high.
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VET funding in Australia and the role of TAFE

5  September 2014

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Policy neglect and funding cuts are steadily eroding Australia’s vocational education and training sector, according to VET sector veteran and now academic Peter Noonan.

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Noonan told the TDA national conference that VET students, many from poor backgrounds, are at risk of having a “hoax” perpetrated on them as government training subsidies are progressively cut and they are forced to pay rising fees while funding for schools and universities has soared.

Underscoring the scale of the under-investment in VET, Noonan said between 2004 and last year total operating spending by all governments rose by about 15 per cent to $6.8 billion a year, but that was dwarfed by a 23 per cent rise in school spending to $40bn a year and a 40 per cent rise in higher education spending to $23bn a year.

On a per-student basis, spending has gone backwards. Between 1999 and 2011 per student government VET spending fell by 25 per cent against a 30 per cent rise in spending per primary school student and a 20 per cent rise per secondary school student. In higher education, per student spending has been largely flat.

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As one senior state department officer observed in relation to the defunding of an important VET Diploma: “of course students will have an entitlement – they will be entitled to a full fee place at a provider of their choice”.

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The 34 hour diploma

2 September 2014

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Anthony Klan’s account  account of how he became a rigdy didge certified financial planner in 34 hours, with  no exams, the course completed entirely online and “open-book” — and with no requirement for a high school certificate (or even a passing grade in primary school for that matter).  And he didn’t cheat.

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 Anthony Klan, government-certified, ‘nationally accredited’, financial adviser. Source: The Australian

Anthony Klan, government-certified, ‘nationally accredited’, financial adviser. Source: The Australian

I Google financial planning education. I decide to give Integrity Education Group a miss — its website told me its Diploma of ­Financial planning “provides anyone” seeking to become an adviser with the necessary compliance “to beomce (sic) ASIC registered as an Authoprised (sic) Represetnative (sic)”.

Instead, I approach the Monarch Institute.

I’m told of the price of the ­diploma of financial planning The diploma cost $1425 (more than double, $2950, if you sign up to a handful of face-to-face workshops). The $1425 includes “both personal and general advice”, a distinction that has chewed up its fair share of parliamentary and media time this year.

For an extra $175 — and “an extra 30-40 minutes of reading time”, I am told by the education provider — I could also become a provider of self-managed super­annuation fund advice.

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Talking Heads

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What does it take to make it in a creative industry?.

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This is the question being answered by a series of special guest speakers at Melbourne Polytechnic’s ‘Talking Heads’ industry discussion program. Each weekly talk provides insight from seasoned and successful professionals who have made their mark in the creative arts industry.

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Life & stuff

Back to basics 

5 September 2014

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Internationally renowned singer-songwriter Gotye (aka Wally de Backer) and his bandmates have formed a rock’n’roll-based political group to contest the upcoming Victorian election, promoting changes in the areas of education, innovation and rock’n’roll.

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Kris Schroeder (centre) with Gotye (left) and Tim Heath, are putting up.

 

 

 

 

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CSIRODigital editor

CSIRO Communications has an opportunity for a Digital Editor to join their team on an indefinite basis. To be successful in this newly-created role, the appointee will need to be a digital native, an experienced writer with an extensive knowledge of the possibilities available online to tell stories that are shared, develop content that is concise and compelling, and deliver material that is easy to find and understand.  The Digital Editor will set the editorial direction on the soon-to-be-relaunched csiro.au, csironewsblog.com and other key digital channels, consistent with CSIRO’s broader communication strategy. The position is located in Sydney.

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University research and innovation: seminar

Wednesday   10 September 

5:30-7:30pm (drinks and canapes from 5pm).

50 Marcus Clarke St, Canberra City

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With the decline of manufacturing, research and innovation edge closer to core business for Australia. But global competition is on the rise and Australia lacks scale and expertise. What is required to build Australia’s future research system and capability? How can commercialisation and impact be improved?

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