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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...]

Running, jumping, standing still

The Conversation     |    4 May 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… What now? asks Gavin Moodie (RMIT) in The Conversation. While across-the-board full fee deregulation has now been dumped by the Coalition, fee deregulation of so-called "flagship courses", first mooted in the Review of Base Funding in 2011 (with the significant qualification that such fees be capped at plus 50% above what they would otherwise be), looks a hot prospect for a  re-elected Coalition government  (as does a raising of the cap on other courses by some percentage). That is, of course, still moot: an incoming Labor government would be ostensibly committed to additional public investment in higher … [Read more...]

Inquiry into higher ed admissions processes

Need to ensure students "uni ready" 7 April 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… The minister for education and training Simon Birmingham has tasked the Higher Education Standards Panel (HESP) to canvass options to improve information about the accessibility and comparability of course entry pathways and to ensure students are ‘uni ready’. …………………………………………………………………………………….......…… He said students need a clear understanding of what they need to get into their course of choice and what will be expected of them through their further study, while universities need to be held to account – and that appears presently not to be the case: Some students are confused about university … [Read more...]

Collaboration and the case for certainty

University Australia's election agenda 17 March 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… In this extract from his  speech to the recent Universities Australia Conference (which was mainly about research, innovation and collaboration),  Universities Australia's chair Barney Glover sets out in broad terms the university sector’s policy agenda for this election year. He prefaced his comments with the observation that the sector has been subject almost 2 years of policy insecurity and uncertainty which has taken a toll on the ability of universities to plan and allocate resources (it’s actually more like 4 years, taking into account the churn that was going on in the latter days of the … [Read more...]

Deakin doesn’t see a future at Warrnambool

But Federation Uni does ABC News  |    11 March 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… Deakin University is considering withdrawing from its Warrnambool campus, about 250km south-west of Melbourne, amid a steep decline in student numbers, from 1,342 students in 2011 to a forecast 872 students this year. …………………………………………………………………………………….......…… Deakin vice-chancellor Professor Jane den Hollander says the university hopes to maintain the campus, but that "all options" are on the table. Den Hollander has made it pretty clear that the preferred option is another provider - such as Federation University -  taking over the campus but if that can’t be negotiated then closing the campus … [Read more...]

The year to date

11 March 2016 There’s a lot to catch up with but, as they say, plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose (which is, according to the estimable Wiktionary, an epigram by Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr in the January 1849 issue of his journal Les Guêpes (“The Wasps”), meaning “the more it changes, the more it’s the same thing.”)  VET FEE-HELP   As previously reported, changes to the VET FEE-HELP (VFH)  scheme legislated late last year provides some better protection of students from the carpetbaggers who have looted the scheme and dudded the students.  The government proposes to spend this year look at ways to rort-proof it from the likes of Phoenix.  But as so many people have asked: how … [Read more...]

Monash to pull out of Berwick

Cites "lack of demand" ABC News  |    8 March 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… Monash University says it will close its Berwick campus in Melbourne's outer south-east unless it can partner with another university on the site. …………………………………………………………………………………….......…… The university said it will stop teaching at Berwick by the end of 2018 after a deal with Victoria University (VU) to use the campus fell through. Monash University's pro vice-chancellor Professor Leon Piterman said negotiations with VU to use the site had gone on for some time. "With students with lower ATARs achieving entry into VU, they would potentially meet the needs of the region better than what … [Read more...]

Redesigning Australia’s tertiary sector

 29 October 2015 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… If there is the collective will, a window of opportunity has opened for a serious discussion about the future architecture of Australian tertiary education and the funding mechanisms that would encourage genuine diversity to flourish, write Richard James and Leo Goedegebuure. …………………………………………………………………………………….......…… After two lost years the sector desperately needs funding reforms. But how can the debate be placed on a new footing? We believe the answer lies in returning to first principles: what kinds of institutions, and what mix of institutions, would best serve Australia? Our thinking is simple: let’s develop a farsighted … [Read more...]

Birmingham releases “synthesis report” on HE reform

The Australian     |     28 October 2015 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… The Commonwealth government has released a synthesis report of the past seven reviews of higher education over the past 30 years rather than conducting a further  separate review in the wake of its failed higher education reform package. …………………………………………………………………………………….......…… Education minister Simon Birmingham told the Australian Financial Review’s Higher Education Summit said that the government is under intense time pressures to come up with a new and revitalised higher education reform package after its the package devised by former education minister Christopher Pyne was rejected by the Senate … [Read more...]

In defence of good research wherever it is found

21 July 2015 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… In response to commentary deprecating The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey: Selected Findings from Waves 1 to 12 by Roger Wilkins of the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research at The University of Melbourne, Conor King, the Executive Director of the Innovative Research Universities Group, provides his perspective on the valuable insight which the Survey presents.  …………………………………………………………………………………….......…… The commentary on The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey: Selected Findings from Waves 1 to 12 by Roger Wilkins of the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and … [Read more...]