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Getting higher ed reforms fit to fly

 Swinburne Newsroom    |    25 August 2014……………………………………………………………………………………………………… Professor Linda Kristjanson, vice-chancellor, Swinburne University of Technology proposes five key changes to the federal government's higher education package - including a maximum cap on student fees and moderating proposed changes to student loans interest rates. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………  One of Swinburne University’s subject strengths is aviation, and so when our researchers see an interesting new aircraft design one of the first things they ask is: will it fly?That’s the question that confronts anyone considering the higher education reform package that formed part of the recent federal … [Read more...]

ACPET National Monday Update #568 25 August 2014

 In Focus In Focus Edition 568, 25 AugOn my return to Perth this weekend I finally got to watch a recording of the ‘7.30 WA’ ABC program from the previous week which reported on the reform of the higher education sector and what impact it would have on the universities in WA....The Federal Government’s proposed reforms are certainly about creating a financially sustainable higher education system but they are equally as importantly about the students. The reforms are good for students. The reforms can only strengthen the place of private providers in the higher education sector for the simple reason that members of ACPET have already created their businesses without the type of government … [Read more...]

Sometimes you need to shout to be heard

 24 August 2014……………………………………………………………………………………………………… The federal government will reportedly consider slashing billions of dollars worth of research funding from universities if Parliament blocks its sweeping higher education changes, with a "senior government source" saying universities should be wary of “cutting off their nose to spite their face”.  A profoundly stupid senior government source, obviously. who seems not to understand the damage such cuts would cause to national wellbeing, across multiple domains - economic , social, cultural. This item from the vault reflects on a rumoured proposal by the Gillard government to slash medical research which was apparently dropped in the face … [Read more...]

The best of Life & Stuff

30 December 2013 Life & Stuff is our lifestyle section: art, music, musings, celebrations and anniversaries, silliness, wisdom.   This is our selection from the past two years. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 26 November 2013 In the popular recent ABC TV series Redesign Your Brain , advertising executive and now TV personality Todd Sampson “trained his brain” to enable him to undertake new (for him) and demanding mental challenges, such as memorising the sequence of a shuffled pack of cards and doing a Houdini type of escape trick. Demonstrating what the experts call "brain plasticity", Sampson shows that … [Read more...]

$5 ‘GP fee’ – a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist

30 December 2013 The government has refused to rule out a proposal to make patients pay a $5 fee for bulk-billed GP visits. But it solves a problem that nobody can show exists, writes Mark Fletcher. Tinkering with policies because you want to save cash is nearly always considered a terrible idea.  In Policy Heaven, policy experts sit down, work out what we want to achieve, work out what that will cost, and then raise the revenue.  In theory, we should be able to work out what the policy priorities of a Government are through how it distributes funds.  After all, there’s a reason why schools have fundraisers for infrastructure, but the military doesn’t. Politics, being what … [Read more...]

Cricket on the radio

The sounds of summer One of the sounds of an Australian summer is the cricket on the radio.  And the sound is about to change with the imminent retirement of ABC commentator Kerry "Skull" O'Keefe.  As Tim Lane describes it, the one-time peroxide-haired leggie, with an action more complicated than the deliveries it produced, grew from relative obscurity to cult figure status in the space of one or two guffaws of snorting laughter.  The laugh and his idiosyncratic form of humour annoys some people but for most of us, Skull has given an added colourful dimension to the cricket.  One of his more celebrated moments was the Frog Joke but Harsha Bhogle's Naga Chillies was also a classic radio … [Read more...]

On the unbearable lightness of being Kevin

29 December 2013 There's a view abroad in some quarters - you can guess  which -  that improving the performance of our schools, seemingly falling against international benchmarks, is not about injecting more money but about something called “values”.  In an opinion piece earlier this year, the Grattan Institute’s Ben Jensen seemed to agree with the tag line reading “raising teachers’ classroom skills is far more important than raising money”.  But what’s the key to raising teachers’ classroom skills?  Jensen concluded that it requires ….teachers having mentors, getting proper feedback about their work, being required to do research on education in collaboration with other … [Read more...]

Melbourne awarded $20M for new ARC Centre of Excellence

University of Melbourne Newsroom    |     18 December 2013 The University of Melbourne will lead the establishment of a new $20M ARC Centre of Excellence, which will create innovative mathematical and statistical models for analysing big data sets. Many data sets and collections have the potential to make vital contributions to society, business and government, as well as impact on international developments, but they are so large or complex that they are difficult to process and analyse using traditional tools, said Melbourne’s ARC Laureate Fellow, Professor Peter Hall. Current solutions are ad-hoc, since adequate, mathematically founded statistical techniques currently … [Read more...]

Advance & Gipps TAFEs to partner with Fed U

20 December 2013 Advance TAFE, GippsTAFE and Federation University have announced they intend to pursue a new formal partnership to sustain Gippsland’s education and training options.  Their decision follows a comprehensive review of several potential partnership options, which seeks to create a sustainable future for Gippsland-based education. Support for a Gippsland regional partnership with Advance TAFE, GippsTAFE and Federation University came from several sectors across the region, as community leaders from government agencies, regional economic development groups and key figures from local businesses, industries and regional education, have expressed support for a … [Read more...]

SA TAFE facing BIG cuts and fee increases

The Australian      |     21   December 2013 TAFE in South Australia faces massive funding cuts and course caps at a time when Holden's closure is expected to trigger huge demand for retraining. The Weekend Australian reports the state government will next year slash $83 million or about 45% from TAFE South Australia's budget, initiating a round of redundancies and course closures. The cuts appear to have been prompted by a blowout in the state's training budget. After opening its training funding to full private competition last year, it had reached its target of 100,000 additional enrolments three years ahead of schedule. Victoria, which introduced a similar system in … [Read more...]