TAFEs claim funding cuts will cost jobs and millions
The Age | 23 November 2013
Victorian TAFEs expect to lose millions of dollars and the education union is forecasting hundreds of redundancies in response to further Victorian state government changes to course subsidies. But the government insists it has not cut overall funding and is moving to stop rorting in the training sector.
Kangan Institute chief executive Grant Sutherland told staff in an email the changes would result in an estimated $9.2 million reduction in revenue for next year.
This is clearly a substantial reduction and budgets across the institute are currently being reworked to take into account this impact. In the interim, as we work through this, approval for staff appointments will be on hold.
Victoria University deputy vice-chancellor Anne Jones said the changes would cost it about $3.7 million.
NSW bill tags TAFE as ‘major’ provider
The Australian | 22 November 2013
The NSW opposition says its amendment to a vocational education bill will force the state government to back away from plans to open training funds to full competition. But the government says the amendment to the bill, which passed parliament on 19 November, won’t change to its “Smart and Skilled” reform plans.
The upper house amendment to the bill, which establishes a new advisory body called the NSW Skills Board, had previously been rejected by the government-dominated lower house. But the government ultimately agreed to the alteration, which means the Skills Board can only oversee reform that “maintains the TAFE Commission as the major provider of vocational education and training”.
‘Light touch’ could have weighty consequences, says TEQSA chief
The Australian | 21 November 2013
Carol Nicoll, chief commissioner of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency has criticised commentary on the Commonwealth government’s deregulation agenda. Nicoll told a Senate estimates committee hearing the issue of “a light touch regulator is a significant one, and one that Australia should not take lightly”:
I would hesitate at the use of the term ‘light touch’. It may signal overseas, particularly in Asia, that Australia is not regulating higher education.
Pyne touts exam for aspiring teachers
The Australian | 20 November 2013
Aspiring teachers would need to sit a national exam under Commonwealth government plans to assess their proficiency before entering the classroom, under a plan to be taken to a meeting of the nation’s education ministers on 29 November .
A policy paper prepared for proposes measures to focus on the quality of graduates rather than the length of their course, questioning the decision to replace the 12-month diploma with a two-year post-graduate degree.
The exam would also allow a shortcut to graduation for high-achieving students.
Vocational course subsidies ‘gamed’
The Australian | 20 November 2013
Ongoing cuts and tweaking to vocational course subsidies under Victoria’s open market system is undermining business certainty. And too many providers of dubious standard are threatening quality, according to University of Melbourne vocational expert Leesa Wheelahan.
Wheelahan isn’t alone. A private provider, frustrated by another round of changes this week, said the bar to entry needed to be raised to weed out providers that game the system by simply shifting their operations to wherever they can get the highest subsidy.
The provider, who asked not to be named, backed proposals by the National Skills Standards Council for a tougher system of licensing. Under the system, smaller providers without licences could partner with larger ones that have invested in heavily in being accredited and so effectively act as guarantors of quality.
Piccoli calls for cap on teaching degrees
Sydney Morning Herald | 20 November 2013
NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli has called for a cap on the number of students allowed to enrol in teaching degrees to curb the state’s oversupply of primary school teachers.
Fairfax Media has revealed that more than 40,000 teachers are on a waiting list for permanent jobs in NSW and the oversupply of primary teachers is likely to last until the end of the decade even if resignations or retirements double.
Inspiring university teachers awarded
Office of Teaching and Learning | 19 November 2013
Australia’s best university teachers have been recognised at the 2013 Australian Awards for University Teaching. Senator Scott Ryan, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education, congratulated the 13 teachers for their outstanding work, along with recognising nine individual university programs that enhance student learning saying.
The Australian Awards for University Teaching are a nationally recognised marker of esteem. The outstanding university teachers and programs deserved to be recognised and celebrated for their exceptional work. This year’s recipients have worked to engage students in active learning and relate their curriculum to the world in which we live. But as commentator Stephen Matchett notes, not actually not a lot of esteem attributed to winners, as shown by, for example the awards being presented by a parliamentary secretary and the scant media coverage
CQU ‘comprehensive” not ‘dual’
The Australian | 18 November 2013
Australias newest dual-sector university, CQUniversity, will instead be calling itself “comprehensive”, with vice-chancellor Scott Bowman warning that thinking of the institution in two parts will simply create hierarchies.
Bowman, whose CQUniversity merges with Central Queensland Institute of TAFE in July, said Dual sector means two parts, and if you say higher education, then you’ve got lower education. This won’t be a dual sector university. We’re talking about being a comprehensive university.
Canberra University to bypass union on pay deal
ABC News | 12 November 2013
The University of Canberra has announced it will bypass the union representing university academics and take a proposed pay offer direct to staff.
University management has been in talks with the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) for almost a year but negotiations became deadlocked over a proposal to link pay rises to the amount university funds are indexed by the Federal Government.