30 June 2015
In June The Scan posted 48 items but only one edition (#171) – we’ve been a bit busy with other things, The Scan being a pro bono sort of thing that doesn’t actually put bread on the table. Speaking of bread, the level of remuneration enjoyed by vice-chancellors was a run away winner in clicks: across the sector, it turns out our vice-chancellors are paid very well indeed by international standards . Academic gongs, recording honours awarded to tertiary people, rated highly. It’s a curious thing that nobody at all from the VET sector, who we could identify, scored a gong for services to education and training – not a single one. It can’t be because VET people are undeserving of recognition, so it must come down to a lack of nominations: you got to be in it to win it and there are links in the post as to how nominate someone. Same goes for the continuing under representation of women. Issues relating to the quality of VET provision features heavily in The Scan’s coverage and in readers’ interests: five of the Top Ten reads in June fall into this category. Of particular interest to readers – and it’s still rating well – was ASQA chief commissioner Chris Robinson’s presentation, to an ACPET forum, on the agency’s regulatory activity since its establishment in 2011. The Scan’s Life & stuff section looks at some aspect of the world around us not directly connected to the tertiary sector, usually something a bit quirky or offbeat. None of these posts ever make the Top Ten but our post about the challenges of budget airline travel – Feckin’ cheap flights, a performance by musical comedy trio Fascinating Aida – came very close: it not only rings true, it’s very funny. It comes complete with sub-titles so’s you can sing along.
10 June 2015 | Australia’s highest paid vice-chancellor saw his salary package increase by $120,000 last year to reach $1.3 million, an analysis by The Australian of annual reports shows. Michael Spence, head of the University of Sydney, topped the list of 37 vice-chancellors, followed by Greg Craven from the Australian Catholic University ($1.2m); Glyn Davis, University of Melbourne ($1.08m); and Peter Coaldrake, Queensland University of Technology ($1.06m). In all, seven vice-chancellors had salary packages over $1m, including two who left or retired.….[ MORE ]….
11 June 2015 | At a recent ACPET forum (9 June), ASQA chief commissioner Chris Robinson provided details of the agency’s regulatory activities since it commenced operations in July 2011. ASQA now covers the activities 3898 Registered Training Organisations (RTOs), 85.2 % of all RTOs. Some 357 RTOs (7.8% ) remain under the jurisdiction of the Victorian Regulation and Qualifications Authority (the Victorian government is considering options to transfer regulatory responsibility to ASQA, although the numbers covered by the VRQA have declined from 583 in 2011 to 357 at the end of 2014) and 318 RTOs (7%) remain with the WA Training Accreditation Council. According to Robinson, to the end of 2014, ASQA had approved about 600 new RTOs but the overall number of RTOs in its jurisdiction had declined by about 400, meaning that, for one reason or another, 1000 existing RTOs in 2011 had folded by 2014 (this is not actually shown in his presentation). This includes 83 RTOs whose registration ASQA cancelled and 134 RTOs whose re-registration was refused.….[ MORE ]….
15 June 2015 | At a recent Australian Council of Private Education and Training (ACPET) forum, assistant education and training minister Simon Birmingham mused that it’s perhaps time to rationalise VET funding arrangements in Australia, which he placed in the context of the current review of Federation arrangements. ACPET has come out, tentatively, in support of such a review, with chief executive Rod Camm saying we need to “…admit that our national approach is seriously breaking down…. what are we looking for? Do we want a national approach or the current localised model ?”. It is more than time to not merely review but to remake “national” arrangements, as argued in this extract from a submission made by the LH Martin Institute to a House of Representatives inquiry….[ MORE ]…..
11 June 2015 | Sloppy student services and false attendance reporting are systemic problems plaguing overseas students at private education providers, the national Overseas Students Ombudsman has revealed. The Ombudsman released a new issues paper on poor compliance in the private education sector, based on 448 investigations into student complaints since the body’s establishment in 2011. It warned some providers were failing to intervene with at-risk students, allowing weak students to continue to study and fail. Student absences were also being miscalculated. Providers were marking students absent when they were merely late, or on days when it was a public holiday and there were no classes scheduled.….[ MORE ]……
8 June 2015 | Over 700 people from across the broad spectrum of Australian society are recognised on the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to the nation or to humanity at large. There were 170 women and 349 men appointed to the Order of Australia while a further 198 Australians were recognised through military and meritorious awards. 635 Australians have been recognised with Orders of Australia on Australia Day 2015, while a further 59 military and 130 meritorious awards were announced. Members of the tertiary education sector received 65 awards, particularly in the upper categories. These include 5 out of the 8 Companion awards (62%), 18 out of 44 Officer awards (31%) and 32 of 138 Member awards (23%), for about 33% of the higher awards – which is about on par with recent years. In the most common category of Medal, only 6 of 404 awards were tertiary sector related people (1.5%) – about half the recent norm. Women continue to be under represented with 33% of all awards, mainly in the Medal category – which is about the same as in the Australia Day List. Of the awards to people associated with the tertiary sector, we couldn’t identify any distinctively “VET people….[ MORE ]…..
1 June 2015 Embattled education group Vocation will slash the number of courses it offers by almost half and rebadge most of its remaining businesses in a two-year turnaround plan. New chief executive Stewart Cummins says will have the company making a profit again in 2015-16. But it still faces further uncertainty over a number of regulatory audits in progress as authorities scrutinise the quality of courses and possible class actions. Cummins said Vocation has already been through its lowest point and now faces a long and painstaking phase of rebuilding credibility among investors.….[ MORE ]….
7 May 2015 | A dodgy Melbourne employment agency and unregistered training provider that advertised jobs that did not exist in order to lure potential employees into paying for training or internships with the company has been fined $166,000 in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court. Consumer Affairs Victoria took action against the now collapsed entity Keat Enterprises in the court last week, after it investigated several complaints last year over Keat Enterprises’ “bait and switch” tactics….[ MORE ]….
3 March 2015 One of Australia’s biggest private training providers is being accused of using salespeople who target disadvantaged areas and enrol poor students with fake entrance exams. Careers Australia is a market leader in vocational education, with 16 campuses across five states and 14,000 students, and is expanding rapidly by engaging door-to-door salespeople to sign up new students to courses funded by the Federal Government. Last financial year Careers Australia billed taxpayers for almost $110 million in VET FEE-HELP loans. But a current Careers Australia student and former sales broker have told ABC’s 7.30 that rapid growth is being achieved using dubious sales tactics….[ MORE ]…..
7 June 2015 Australia’s major survey of students for rating the nation’s vocational education and training (VET) system is underway. Around 310 000 students are being asked about their recent experience at a TAFE institute, private training provider, or adult and community education provider. Managed by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), the annual Student Outcomes Survey provides information on VET students’ employment outcomes and satisfaction with their training.….[ MORE ]….
28 May 2015 | The South Australian government has stepped back from “open market” VET funding to reintroduce a virtual monopoly for TAFE SA. Under its new WorkReady program, which will replace Skills for All in July, TAFE SA will provide 90% of new training places in 2015 -16. Under the reforms, announced on 21 May, approximately 81,000 training places will be subsidised in 2015-16. Of these places, 51,000 will be new and 30,000 will comprise students already undertaking courses. TAFE SA will provide 46,000 of the 51,000 new places. Of the 30,000 continuing places, about 16,000 will be delivered by private providers. The number of subsidised courses has also been cut from more than 900 to about 700.….[ MORE ]….