26 July 2013
Major policy reform of the demand-driven system cannot be rushed in just 72 hours and needs further consultation to avoid unintended consequences, according to Sandra Harding, chair of Universities Australia. At a recent meeting with vice-chancellors, higher education Minister Kim Carr asked them for advice on possible budget-neutral alternatives to the $900 million university funding cuts announced in the May budget, possibly by reining in growth in student places. While UA hasn’t developed an alternative proposal, Harding said it had advised the minister of potential issues arising from any changes to the uncapped system. She said new places would still have to be available where needed and that funding for the predicted “bulge” in the student pipeline from the recent expansion would have to be guaranteed, as would the need to be able to enrol sufficient students to support new infrastructure…….[READ MORE]…..
Universities Australia along with 15 other members of the #ScrapTheCap Alliance, have met with the shadow minister for education, Christopher Pyne about the proposed $2000 cap on tax deductions for self-education expenses, announced by former Treasurer Wayne Swan in April. Following the meeting, where all groups expressed strong opposition to the measure, Pyne issued a statement calling on the government to `Scrap the Cap.’ Belinda Robinson, Chief Executive of Universities Australia said after the meeting that Pyne’s comments are an acknowledgement of the adverse impact the measure will have on the economy and the community…….[READ MORE]…..
$100k to develop Lilydale tertiary plan
The Victorian government will provide the Yarra Ranges Council with $100,000 in funding to develop and implement a comprehensive vocational and tertiary education strategy for the site of Swinburne University’s former Lilydale campus in Melbourne’s outer east. The grant will enable the council to engage with committed TAFE and higher education providers to have one or more of them relocate to the existing facility. The council will also consider other opportunities for the site that would benefit the community, including library services, and possibly the location of emergency service agencies, community based organisations and state government department offices. Work will be completed before the end of the year, with a view to new arrangements being in place for the start of 2014…..[READ MORE]…..
The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency has announced that a less onerous process for reregistration for providers with a solid track record will begin in January, with fast-tracked reaccreditation of courses perhaps closer to mid-year. TEQSA also promises a simplified risk framework and no more than one quality assurance survey a year……[READ MORE]…..
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. Brabham a nationally-respected Indigenous academic was suspended by her supervisor in the presence of security guards but was not furnished with an explanation until 23 July, eight days after her suspension. Each lunchtime staff gather in a circle of silence for up to ten minutes around a tree trunk cut from Brabham’s homeland near Mildura……[READ MORE]…..
22 July 2013 | Open2Study, Open University Australia’s (OUA) free online education platform. has signed up New Zealand’s Massey University as its first international partner. Open2Study already has a dozen established relationships with Australian institutions and universities such as Griffith, Macquarie and RMIT. OUA says this recent move is part of Open2Study’s strategy to provide its global student body with access to international educators. Open2Study currently offers over 20 free tertiary and professional level subjects online and expects to make several Massey subjects available by the end of 2013……[READ MORE]…..
20 July 2013 | University student places will be reduced under a planned Rudd government reorganisation of Julia Gillard’s $2.8 billion across-the-board higher education cuts to fund the national school funding reforms (aka Gonski).
Vice-chancellors were given a 72-hour deadline on Monday 15 July to put alternative plans to higher education minister Kim Carr to avoid the former prime minister’s 2 % efficiency dividend from next January, which was designed to save $900 million. The universities and the government are now considering plans to save money on government-funded university places by cutting the overall student intake through higher entrance marks and “balancing up the system” to match student demand against available places. Carr will negotiate any changes to savings plans and student intake on a university-by-university basis, using the existing system of “compacts” the government has with higher education to control quality standards. The government is hoping to avoid the politically sensitive issue of reversing its earlier policy of providing more access to university.…[READ MORE]….
TAFE Queensland chief appointed
Jodi Schmidt has been appointed as the first Chief Executive Officer of the newly created TAFE Queensland statutory body, which was created in legislation on 1 July as a parent body to drive the strategic direction for all TAFE delivery in Queensland.
In the role of CEO, Ms Schmidt will continue to lead the reform of TAFE in Queensland commenced in her former role of Deputy Director-General, Training and Employment in the Department of Education, Training and Employment.
She joined the VET sector in late 2005 as a Director at Southbank Institute of Technology, Queensland’s largest public training provider. During her tenure, Ms Schmidt led the development and implementation of the new statutory institute model for Southbank Institute to provide a greater commercial focus and was integral in the Institute becoming a specialist in the delivery of higher level certificate and diploma programs.
Since 2010, Ms Schmidt has held various roles within the Department of Education, Training and Employment leading the implementation of initiatives to align the training and higher education sectors and helped shaped the current reform of the state’s public provider through her work with the Queensland Skills and Training Taskforce.
As the “student entitlement model” as a means of increasing competition in the VET sector is rolled out across the nation, 8 different models of reform have emerged. Victoria’s model , with its seeming focus on untrammelled competition, seems the radical outlier. Despite significant differences in approach, policymakers in other jurisdictions have been careful to avoid the “turbulence” that has accompanied introduction of the Victorian model. In this article first published in Campus Review, Dr Ruth Schubert, director of business transformation at TAFE SA, sets out the South Australian approach.
TAFE as a system and public provider is under review and scrutiny in a way not seen for a generation. The national agenda is seeking to maximise the skills and qualifications of the National Workforce, at the same time as achieving efficiencies in the costs associated with the delivery. The national imperative is for higher skills as a means of driving innovation in smart and globally competitive industries and enterprises. However while the end result has bipartisan political support, the means to the end does not.
The policy drivers to achieve the changes are many and varied across the State jurisdictions; one key mechanism is the student entitlement model as a means of increasing competition in the sector. The implementation and management of the student entitlement for Victorian TAFEs has been at best turbulent, and indeed the full impact on the Victorian TAFE system is yet to be seen. The recent injection of adjustment funds now has amalgamations and mergers being seriously considered.
In South Australia, the decision to implement Skills for All, which is the student entitlement demand driven model, also required that the TAFE system was at arm’s length from the funder and government agency. The move to establish a Statutory Corporation as a government business has enabled the Chair of the Board to report directly to the Minister of the day. The appointment of a highly qualified and well-connected board has enabled a degree of independence not previously possible.
The fundamental principle in the way TAFE SA is being positioned and transformed is that as one system, one RTO, and one structure, the organisation is best positioned to capitalise on the expertise and innovation within all areas of the business to ensure effective and efficient service across the State in an open market.
So much insightful, funny and cutting commentary comes from Australia’s great cartoonists. Many people miss out. Inspired by Barrie Cassidy’s Insiders Talking Pictures, this Facebook page is simply about sharing some of the country’s great art works.
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
The creation of MOOCs opens up many questions both in the short term future with regard to the viability of the current MOOCs model, as well as in the long term with reference to the democratisation of education and what it means for the future of universities. Such complex and far reaching consequences raise significant questions for Australian universities across a spectrum of issues.