Australian Higher Education Industrial Association president and Curtin University vice-chancellor Jeanette Hacket says she would welcome a return to John Howard-era workplace agreements if it meant more flexibility to respond to student expectations. She said she also doubted that universities could afford the 7 % annual pay rises being demanded by the National Tertiary Education Union.
University staff from 38 universities across Australia have been recognised for enriching student learning with prestigious Citation Awards from the Commonwealth Government. The Minister for Tertiary Education, Senator Chris Evans announced the 152 university academics and professional staff to be recognised for developing innovative programs, including new teaching models, to improve student experiences and learning…..[Continue reading]…
The Australian Skills Quality Authority has rejected an application from Victorian-based Pow Wow Training to renew its registration as a national training provider, registration leaving more than 1000 students to find somewhere else to complete their studies. Pow Wow offered a wide range of courses from aged care, child care and transport and logistics. ASQA chief commissioner Chris Robinson said Pow Wow was “critically non-compliant” in meeting quality standards. Robinson said the company provided inadequate training and employed trainers who lacked the industry skills they needed for the job…..[Continue reading]…
18 September TAFE unions have called an “emergency rally” and will take strike action on Thursday 20 September, saying that they “are now fighting for the very survival of TAFE in Victoria” following the disclosure of “how savage and devastating the Baillieu Government’s TAFE cuts are for the Victorian economy and the futures of young people.”.…[Continue reading]…
Acting Victorian Premier Peter Ryan has urged workers in the TAFE sector not to participate in unprotected strike action on Thursday 20 September. Ryan said the issue with TAFE arrangements has been well publicised.Ryan said the strike would impose an enormous cost and discomfort on parents, particularly those with children and implored people to “let the process take its course.” ….[Continue reading]…
15 September Victoria could sell off as many as 35 TAFE campuses and sites, almost pipping the 38 campus closures recently recommended in Queensland, the leaked Cabinet document on TAFE “transition plans” reveals….[Continue reading]…
19 September 2012
A leaked summary of Victorian TAFE transition plans reveals plans for possible mergers, takeovers and asset swaps. The document, which summarises TAFE strategies to survive a $300 million budget cut, covers Victoria’s 14 stand-alone institutes and four dual-sector universities as well as a surprise entry from La Trobe University.
The leaked Cabinet-in – Confidence document detailing Victorian TAFE “transition plans” can be seen HERE.
With TAFE staff in Victoria taking industrial action over swingeing funding cuts, Victorian NTEU secretary Colin Long writes that all tertiary sector staff should be concerned over these cuts.
Although private providers of vocational education and training were the cause of funding blow-outs and quality problems, it is Victoria’s public TAFEs that have borne the brunt of the funding cuts. Contestability of funding, whereby private providers are allowed to compete with TAFE for government funding, allow private providers to undercut TAFE on quality, student services and staff terms and conditions. Cutting the full service provider funding to TAFE – money for libraries and other student services – tips the balance in favour of private providers.
What has happened in Victoria over the last three years, greatly exacerbated by the Baillieu government, is that public money has been directly shifted into the private training sector at the expense of public education in an unprecedented way.
Recent funding cuts suggest state governments have failed to appreciate how important TAFE is to our economy and the community more generally. To them the vital work TAFE does is invisible. But while TAFE’s effect might not be visible to politicians, it is an essential economic, social and cultural support for Australian communities and regions. Without strong TAFEs, there could be serious changes to our social cohesion and economic future.
Cuts to the humanities and social sciences faculty at La Trobe University have been the source of much debate among the academic community, and anger among affected staff and students. This culminated in a stand-off between protestors and Vice-Chancellor John Dewar at the university’s open day last month. But the ensuing fracas has also resulted in various claims and counter-claims being circulated in the press. A case in point is Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar’s recent contribution to The Conversation, in which he made some questionable claims about the state of humanities at La Trobe, according to Virginia Mansel Lees.
The phrase “Moscow on the Molonglo” was coined in reference to an era of Coalition industrial and governance intervention in universities and controls on fees and enrolments, writes Glenn Withers, former CEO of Universities Australia.
The issue has returned with a vengeance, this time under Labor, as university authorities come to terms with the new regulator – the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) – which universities claim is tying them up in red tape. But TEQSA has been far more nuanced than its twin in vocational education and training, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), which takes a very blunt interventionist approach.
Maybe it’s time to rethink the conception of “university”….and focus a bit more on the teaching mission.
Under present standards, mandated by the Commonwealth governments, , a university college is classified as a university on training wheels, with an institution allowed five years to satisfy the requirements of becoming a comprehensive university However, with little trouble, a university college could be classified as a stand-alone institution with a requirement for research in at least one broad field of study. This would make it not much different from a university of specialisation.
It would be worth further refining the concept of a university college to recognise a new university type with a teaching orientation. It’s not an original idea: such institutions are common overseas and have featured in Australia’s higher education past, most notably in the Canberra University College, which existed for 30 years before being absorbed into Australian National University in 1960.
16 September 2012
Universities Australia Chair Glyn Davis observes that education transforms lives, and the Behrendt Review proposes an Australia in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are well represented in each new class and on staff, a familiar part of the university community. It is an inspiring vision of the nation we can become.
13 September The East Asia and the Pacific region is expected to exceed enrolments of 100 million students between 2020 and 2021 and to exceed enrolments of 200 million between 2033 and 2034. By 2035, 42% of global enrolments (or 212.9 million enrolments) will be from this region, a sharp contrast to the 25% proportion it attained back in 2000….[Continue Reading]…
Higher education is becoming a commodity which is means more and more, universities are seen as sellers and students as consumers, writes David Pick in The Conversation.
It’s a competitive market and competition is fierce. Over the past twenty years, universities have also become more businesses-like in many areas of their operations. As government has reduced funding, they have become more reliant on income from fee-paying students.
At the same time, fees are also increasing for international and domestic students who are more choosy about where they want to study and conscious of wanting “value for money” (often measured through job prospects after graduation).
Caught between squeezed budgets and intense competition for students, the temptation for universities to overstate things a little might be irresistible.
The Scan website is regularly updated between the weekly Main Edition, published each Thursday. Go HERE for recent updates.
25-26 October 2012 @ RMIT University, Melbourne
The future of diplomas and advanced diplomas is uncertain, while associate degrees are gaining in prominence. This two-day conference will debate and discuss the future of these mid-level qualifications in Australia. It will consider the role they play in preparation for work, as a transition to higher qualifications and in widening access to higher-level qualifications.
13 September 2012
Six 3D Design students at WA’s Central Institute of TAFE have been invited to exhibit in an international designers exhibition to be held in London. The emerging designers are second and third year students. The furniture and product designers were hand picked by author and London Design Festival curator, Ms Suzanne Trocmé, who was a guest judge at the recent Vibrant Visions in Design (VIVID) in Melbourne, which is the contemporary section of Furnitex, Australia’s largest furniture trade show.
20 September 2012
On the US website Slate in early 2011, the late Christopher Hitchens advised that “US style of tea is best thrown away”. In a complaint that will resonate with many travellers to the US, Hitchen’s main gripe was that Americans seem to offer only cups of tepid water, with teabags served separately. Indeed, I was once escorted – rather forcefully – from the kitchen of The Jefferson in Washington for offering an accelerated lesson to kitchen staff in the art of making tea.Hitchens provided a list of guiding principles, the most important of which is making sure that boiling water is added to the tea. “Grasp only this, and you hold the root of the matter.” Next, he insisted that your teapot be pre-warmed. As for milk, “use the least creamy type or the tea will acquire a sickly taste. And do not put the milk in the cup first.“The question of whether milk should come first or last is one that has divided polite society for eons, as George Orwell observed in his 1946 instructions on making tea (Orwell is with Hitchens).
Got somewhere interesting near where you live and/or work? Got an interesting story? Got an event coming up? Tell us about it!