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One size does not fit all unis

The case for a new university type 11 May 2017 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… There's a hint in  Budget announcements on higher education that the Government might be entertaining the notion of "teaching-only universities", reveals Emmaline Bexley (Higher education reform: small changes for now but big ones to come).  And about time, too, that the fiction of the "teaching-research nexus" to which Australia slavishly clings be abandoned.  The case for a different type of university has been argued for years. …………………………………………………………………………………….......…… It would be reasonable to assume, as many people do, that the word university derives from the Latin universitas, … [Read more...]

The Scan 28 June 2016 #181

Apprentice numbers slump 28 June 2016    |     The number of apprentices across Australia has plunged since the Coalition took office, government figures show, with some of the steepest falls occurring in high-unemployment marginal seats still up for grabs at Saturday's election.  Western Sydney has lost 10,642 apprentices and western Melbourne 4782, while the national total fell 28 per cent from 383,562 to 278,583, between December 2013 and December last year, documents obtained under Freedom of Information and NCVER data reveal.  Labor claims the falling take up of apprenticeships is a direct result of the $1 billion stripped from trades support programs since the change of government, … [Read more...]

Great 8 propose caps on enrolments

Fairfax Media    |  15 June 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… The elite Group of Eight universities have proposed that the Commonwealth government reintroduce limits on how many students each university can enrol, a suggestion slammed by other vice-chancellors as "cancerous" and "selfish". …………………………………………………………………………………….......……   The Group has released a paper calling for a "moderation" of the demand-driven system that allows universities to enrol as many students as they want. Group of Eight chair Michael Spence said the uncapping of university places in from 2009-21012 had blown out the budget by billions of dollars while leaving important university … [Read more...]

The Scan #179 5 May 2016

A few cuts, no frills 4 May 2016   |   The government has pushed consideration of proposed university reforms, including a 20% cut in funding, out beyond the election, until 1 January 2018.  While it has ruled out full fee deregulation, it has released an options paper, to guide a consultation process, canvassing a range of alternative fee measures which would still see substantial fee rises.  The 2016 Budget also sees an efficiency dividend of $1.2 billion on legislated dropped but the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program has been cut by $152 million to $553 million over four years.  The Office of Learning and Teaching has been abolished, with the resulting $18 million in … [Read more...]

The Scan # 178 12 April 2016

TAFE does heavy lifting - TDA 12 April 2016   |    A TAFE Directors Australia (TDA)-commissioned analysis of official data reveals ‘for profit’ private training colleges have gained a massive 75% share of the $3 billion Commonwealth VET FEE-HELP funding, while the public TAFE sector continues to do the “heavy lifting”.  The performance of Australia’s 57 TAFE Institutes emerges strongly, dominating all major state and territory VET-funded ‘fields of education’ and trade apprenticeships. While TAFE delivered 63% of enrolments across the majority of fields of education, Commonwealth allocation of student loans to TAFE fell to just 20% in 2014, and the government’s own emergency legislation to … [Read more...]

Pyne agenda lives on

20% cut to funding likely The Australian   |   5 April 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… The government remains committed to a higher education funding reform with university students increasingly likely to pay more for their degrees, Education Minister Simon Birmingham has confirmed. …………………………………………………………………………………….......…… Birmingham told Sky News on 4 April he wanted to “refine and improve” the original plan by former minister Christopher Pyne. “The growth in higher education spending over the last 20 years has essentially gone at double the rate of growth of the economy, so that is not a sustainable financial trajectory,” he said. He said the original 20% cut … [Read more...]

The Scan in 2015

 26 December 2015 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… On account of other pressing matters in 2015 published editions of The Scan, with a completely refreshed front page heralded to subscribers by an e-newsletter, were down quite a bit – just 21 in 2015 compared to 40 in in 2014. Nevertheless, some 350 items were posted, which is about 8 a week in The Scan’s year, a little down on the 10 items posted a week last year. Traffic to the Scan website remained strong, down about 20% on last year’s figures. The Scan’s now extensive archive of nearly 3000 posts creates “organic” traffic: over one third of all Scan traffic now flows from search engines and referrals. Regular readers will have … [Read more...]

The Scan # 169 15 May 2015

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ GDP spending on higher education set to fall to half OECD average 15 May 2015    |    Spending on higher education as a proportion of GDP will fall from 0.56% in 2015 down to 0.48% in 2018, well below the OECD average of 1%, an analysis of the 2015 Budget figures has determined. According to Vin Massaro, an honorary professorial fellow with the Centre for the Study of Higher Education, higher education spending is slated to drop from $9.3bn in 2015, to $8.9bn in 2016, $9.1bn in 2017 and back to $9.3bn in 2018, representing a drop in GDP every year. … [Read more...]

The Scan #167 16 April 2015

Student debt growing rapidly as compliance declines 16 April 2015   |    With student debt ballooning, reform of the FEE-HELP system (HECS) is now a pressing budget issue with the nation’s second biggest financial asset, after the Future Fund, being eroded as one in five debtors renege on their loans. That figure is expected to rise to 25% by 2017. The government will have more than $70 billion in unpaid university student loans on its books in another two years, double the figure owed in 2013-14. According to researchers Richard Highfield and Neil Warren, the loans system is being compromised by successive governments’ commitment to increasing participation in tertiary education while not … [Read more...]

Mistakes were made

16 April 2015 Failure of the deregulation package and the way ahead ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… The failure of the government to carry the Senate on its proposed higher education reforms can be put down to the government’s arrogance and heavy-handedness and what would politely be called its disingenuousness. Parts of the package were not without considerable merit – for example, extending public subsidies to the students of non-university higher education providers is a long overdue fairness measure and extending them generally to sub-degree programs could considerably improve retention rates. But overall, the package was seen to be poorly conceived and fundamentally … [Read more...]