15 December 2013
This is a brickwall
In 2013, over 700 items were posted on The Scan (down from about 900 in 2012). There were some surprises. The short obituary on Peter Redlich attracted a surprising number of views because he died suddenly (although he’d been ill for some time), being Jewish, he was buried within 24 hours and a full obituary wasn’t published for some weeks, so as word spread, people ended up at The Scan via search engines. An increasing amount of traffic comes to The Scan by way of search engines: The Scan “archive” of items is now approaching 2000 (it totals more than posts of over 1600 because a post may contain several items). The Scan of 22 March 2012 is a perennial favourite by virtue of carrying a graphic: people google “brick wall” and end up at that edition (ditto the post Much ado about the sounds of silence, because of its association with “nothing”).
There are a number of ways of accessing archived items:
- Enter a key word or term in the search box at the the top right the page
- Clicking a word/term in the tag cloud in the right sidebar
- Checking the monthly archive or the calendar of posts in the right sidebar.
The continuing ructions in the VET sector featured heavily in 2013 (Once was TAFE , a leading post in 2012, wasn’t too far off the pace in 2013, either), as did regulatory issues in both the VET and higher education sectors. You would have expected in an election year that politics and policy would rate highly: but it was the paucity of new policy, for either VET or higher education, that was notable BEFORE the election, although Christopher Pyne has had a bit to say since. With both a national commission of audit and a formal review of the higher education demand driven system to report in early 2014, next year’s budget (probably delivered on Tuesday 13 May 2014) should be full of interest. Following are the most viewed items on The Scan in 2013 .
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14 June 2013 | A Senate estimates committee has been told that the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), the national vocational training regulator, has deregistered or refused to re-register 127 providers since it commenced operations almost two years ago. This comprises about 8% of the 1600 Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) audited so far. Another 1000 RTOs are currently being assessed or have been “earmarked for audit”, chief commissioner Chris Robinson told the Senate Economics Legislation Committee….[ READ MORE ]…..
5 August 2013 | On the cusp of going into caretaker mode, pending the election outcome, the Commonwealth government has released the report of a review examining how red tape can be reduced for universities while also supporting the quality and excellence of Australia’s world class university system. Releasing the report by professors Kwong Lee Dow and Valerie Braithwaite – Review of Higher Education Regulation: Report- minister for higher education Kim Carr noted that while the report supports the continuing role of the national regulator – the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) – it also finds that the burden of higher education regulation on universities can be reduced without compromising quality standards.….[ READ MORE ]…..
1 December 2012 | In its response to the Skills and Training Taskforce Report, the Queensland government says it will avoid a “massive cost blowout” by rejecting a Victorian-style free-for-all in its open training market. The government has accepted, in full or in principle, all 40 recommendations of contentious report but watered down a proposal to close 38 of the state’s 82 TAFE campuses. Queensland Training and Employment Minister John-Paul Langbroek said the government will rationalise campuses but had not settled on a number. He said 12 would be given to a university-TAFE merger in central Queensland and 13 would be sold, but additional closures were on hold….[ READ MORE ]……
12 August 2013 | A Victorian government-commissioned survey has found that employers are losing faith in the quality of training qualifications, adding more ammunition to ongoing criticism of the state’s open market for training subsidies that has led to a proliferation of private providers. The report from Queensland-based consultants Ithaca Group, and obtained by the HES, surveyed about 140 Victorian employers as part of an effort to assess their training information needs, but it found many would rather buy qualifications than trust the training system to improve staff skills....[ READ MORE ]……
A collage of Coalition policies
8 September 2013 | This wasn’t an election in which education was a key issue and tertiary education hardly figured at all. Here’s a collage of Scan articles over the past year or so touching on the Coalition’s approach to tertiary education, which provides a sort of compass to the horizon. The 7 pillars of Coalition HE policy.
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16 April 2013 | The outgoing chairs of a number of the boards heads of Victorian TAFEs have been highly critical of the State government in their 2012 annual reports tabled in Parliament on 18 April. The former chair of Holmesglen TAFE, Jonathan Forster, wrote in his report that last year’s funding cuts to TAFEs placed “considerable strain” on the institute and that the funding changes were implemented with “undue haste” and will result in a “significant increase” in fees and uncertainty for the sector. Other TAFE heads described the cuts in their annual reports, as causing “a significant amount of turbulence and disruption” and a “challenging and unsettling period.”....[ READ MORE ]……
24 July 2013 | 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 Professor Brabham’s homeland near Mildura.....[ READ MORE ]……
21 March 2013 | Australia’s leading online higher education provider, Open Universities Australia (OUA), has unveiled its own free online education venture, Open2Study. OUA describes Open2Study as “a new dimension in online learning, … is designed with the online student in mind.” Launched with 10 subjects, including Financial Planning and Introduction to Nursing there’s a pipeline of a couple of hundred and OUA expects to offer 40 to 50 subjects by the end of 2013.....[ READ MORE ]……
9 August 2013 | Victoria has changed funding arrangements for foundation skills courses following the latest reported rorts of training subsidies. It’s the latest in a string of modifications to the state’s four year-old open training market. They include cuts and some increases to course funding rates, changes to eligibility rules and a stop-start approach to dedicated funding streams – including the scrapping of TAFEs’ $170 million “community service obligation” funding…..[ READ MORE ]….
6 March 2013 | Encouraged by remarks by the Commonwealth minister that he’s looking afresh at tertiary “inter-connectedness”, five tertiary institutions* are proposing a national network that brings together the strengths of TAFE and higher education traditions, enabling degrees to be studied initially at TAFE institute campuses in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. Students would be able to study degrees in face-to-face, online or blended modes, with extra support depending on their needs and requirements of the course….[ READ MORE]….
22 February 2013 | Monash University and the University of Ballarat are proposing to “join forces” at the Monash Churchill campus in Gippsland. The proposal involves Ballarat taking over the campus, with Monash retaining a presence through its medical school. Monash will “teach-out” its existing courses and retain an active research presence on the campus. The new arrangements would see the range of courses being offered by the University of Ballarat and the Gippsland campus to be expanded by “drawing on the knowledge and expertise residing within them”, according to the universities…..[ READ MORE ]….
6 September 2013 | A Coalition proposal to take $103 million from “ridiculous” projects in the humanities and redirect the money to medical research, has raised the ire of the research community. Catriona Jackson, chief executive of the science and technology peak group STA, asked whether Australians want politicians picking and choosing which grant proposals deserve funding. She said that “scientists and research funding agencies understand that governments set priorities for research and that this is entirely valid given we do not have the resources to fund everything. Priority setting is very different from political picking and choosing. Only a quarter of research grant bids that go to the ARC each year are successful. Only the best of the very best get through the very careful peer review, expert-driven process.” ….[ READ MORE ]….
15 October 2012 | The University of NSW has become the first university in Australia to have a massive open online course, or MOOC, available free on the internet, ahead of the universities of Melbourne, Western Australia and Queensland, whose MOOC programs are still being developed. A UNSW introductory computing course will be made available from 15 October. While the course’s intellectual property is owned by the university, the course will be delivered through Open Learning – an online education start-up company that Associate Professor Richard Buckland founded with UNSW graduate Adam Brimo, and which now employs a team of UNSW alumni…..[ READ MORE ]…..
5 January 2013 | Peter Redlich passed away on 3 January 2013. Among his many contributions to the Victorian community, Peter was a member of the Council of Monash University from 2005 to 2009. Peter created, developed and for many years led the [progressive] legal firm of Holding Redlich, pursuing his vision of it becoming a legal resource available to all. This was based on his unflinching belief in social justice and the need to defend and protect fundamental human rights whenever they were in danger….[ READ MORE ]…..
25 October 2013 | The insightful Leesa Wheelahan will soon be decamping the LH Martin Institute to take up the William G Davis Chair of Community College Leadership at the University of Toronto. Here she reflects on the challenges facing the TAFE sector as a result of “VET reform”, which she suggests can only result in a greatly diminished role for TAFE, at great community and social cost. It’s not an uncommon view: recently retired Holmesglen Institute director Bruce Mackenzie says TAFEs might disappear entirely from some states in less than a decade due to “state government meddling and federal government indifference “. He does suggest that “re-invention” involving TAFEs in effective collaborations and partnerships will be the key to survival.…..[ READ MORE ]…..
30 August 2013 | Claire Field, chief executive of the Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET) has launched a scathing attack on the National Skills Standards Council (NSSC), the agency responsible for setting training standards, saying armchair experts are wrecking the sector. Speaking at ACPET’s national conference, she said that non-practitioners with a “predominantly classroom-based” view of training were setting unreasonable and unworkable standards.…..[ READ MORE ]…..
26 September 2013 | Holmesglen Institute and private health company Healthscope are proposing to build a new private hospital at Holmesglen’s Moorabbin campus in Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs. The project will convert an existing conference centre into a health and education precinct, providing clinical training for Holmesglen’s health science students, as well as health care for local residents. Holmesglen will contribute $20 million to the project , presumably in the form of the site, and Healthscope will spend $100 million. The hospital is expected to create 500 construction jobs and 750 healthcare roles……[ READ MORE ]…..
26 September 2013 | The difference between being in government and opposition, Tony Blair once famously said, is that in government a minister wakes up and thinks, “what will I do today”. In opposition, the spokesperson wakes up and thinks, “what will I say today?” New education minister Christopher Pyne possibly began to appreciate this difference when his public musings about “quantity” versus “quality” (i.e. the pros and cons of the demand driven system), sparked the most public attention of the nascent government’s term (except for deciding not automatically announcing new boat arrivals). People think that what he says may reflect what he’s going to do…..[ READ MORE ]…..
11 June 2013 | The Queensland government has released a “reform action plan”, its detailed response to the report of the Queensland Skills and Training Taskforce. Great skills. Real opportunities confirms that full contestability of public funding will be phased in from 1 July 2013, to come into full operation from 1 July 2014. It also takes the concept of “competitive neutrality” to another level in Australia: the ownership of what are now TAFE facilities are to transferred to a new, yet to be determined entity, which will provide access to public training facilities for private providers as well as the public TAFE institutes. This will leave TAFEs to focus on training while the separate entity manages their “ageing, under-utilised, ill-suited infrastructure”, according to the statement.…[ READ MORE ]…..
12 August 2013 | An analysis by the National Tertiary Education Union of the 2012 Annual reports of Australia’s 37 public universities shows that their vice -chancellors (VCs) were well financially rewarded for their efforts. In total the VCs received remuneration packages worth close to $30m. The data show that total remuneration ranged from $1.2m for the VC of Macquarie University (who for the bulk of 2012 was Prof Steven Schwartz) to a little over $300,000 for Prof Andrew Vann at Charles Sturt University (CSU). The data also clearly indicates that Prof Vann’s remuneration package is very much an outlier with the next lowest package being almost double his package at close $550,000….[ READ MORE ]…..