Super Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful on record, destroyed thousands of homes as it tracked across central Philippines. Winds of more than 300km/h, flash flooding and landslides have left families without shelter, food and water. Thousands of people are feared dead. Red Cross staff and volunteers are on the ground in the disaster-affected communities, helping people evacuate and providing emergency first aid and relief supplies, such as food, water and shelter.
8 November 2013 | Education minister Christopher Pyne has announced $522 million in funding for 1177 new research projects under the Australia Research Council’s (ARC) Future Fellowships scheme (commencing 2013) and Major Grants scheme (commencing 2014). He says that if Australia is continue to produce groundbreaking research outcomes, ‘eureka’ moments and Nobel Laureates, then a strong investment in research is needed…...[ READ MORE]……
8 November 2013 | Almost a quarter of scientists, researchers and workers at Australia’s premier science institution will lose their jobs under the federal government’s present public service jobs freeze. The blanket staff freeze across the public service threatens the jobs of 1400 “non-ongoing” workers at the CSIRO and could paralyse some of the organisation’s premier research projects, with a ban on hiring, extending or renewing short-term contracts effective immediately. The freeze is part of the Abbott government’s plan to cut 12,000 jobs from the public service…..[ READ MORE]……
8 November 2013 | At Melbourne University, aspiring teachers must now navigate an online test that looks for personality traits that will help them get the most from their training. This year about 1500 students with undergraduate qualifications used the survey tool, which also tests verbal communication and numerical ability. Only about a quarter of the applicants who took the test will be accepted into the postgraduate course....[READ MORE ]……
8 November 2013 | A $100,000 grant to the Yarra Ranges Shire Council to look into options for how the former Swinburne University site in Lilydale could be used for education purposes has been suspended. However, a complaint was made to the Victorian Ombudsman about a potential conflict of interest over the site’s use in that the council said it wanted to use part of the site to house its new municipal offices, which the Ombudsman has decided to investigate ....[ READ MORE ]……
8 November 2013 | In just six months, Open Universities Australia has reached 100,000 enrolments in its free online learning platform with 53,000 students from more than 180 countries undertaking one or more of its massive open online courses, or MOOCs. Open2Study began by offering 10 free subjects in April, with each taking four weeks to complete. The platform currently offers 32 courses and with new subjects added almost every month, the Open2Study team expects to have up to 50 free subjects available by the end of 2013....[ READ MORE ]…..
8 November 2013 | Uncapped funding for university enrolments should be replaced by an entirely new system that caps funding to institutions but allows them to set their own goals, according to Melbourne University vice-chancellor Glyn Davis. Under the Rudd-Gillard governments, universities witnessed a 34% rise in undergraduate enrolments, with government spending on university places forecast to rise from $5bn in 2010-11 to $7bn by 2016-17. Davis says the review of the uncapped system foreshadowed by education minster Christopher Pyne needs to give the government budget certainty while allowing universities the freedom to determine the make-up of their student body…..[ READ MORE]……
“Decide student profiles” sounds better than “restricting access” and “within the funding envelope” certainly sounds more agreeable than “cutting higher education funding” but they amount to the same thing.
In case you missed the news, the “Asian century” is over – or maybe it’s just the nuance of the rhetoric that’s changed ….. Analysis of the Coalition’s recent super changes indicates that the abandonment of the Low Income Super Contribution scheme will cost 3.6 million workers up to $27,000 each in lost retirement earnings….Check out Fairfax News Store – access to a lot of Fairfax Media news items for nix….. Early childhood education reforms, started under Labor, are looking increasingly shaky under a Coalition government….The TAFE Times – “vocational education’s clarion call” – is a useful news aggregation site…..TAFE chief accused of massaging entitlements….
The Scan in October
Why institutions matter – why TAFE MATTERS….Hockey rules out privatising HECS debt…..Pyne promises easier work rights for international students….Why a minimum ATAR would improve efficiency and equity….Nice work, if you can get it….Employers losing faith in training system…TEQSA’s plan to cut redtape…..Australian unis suffer reputational damage….The La Trobe model?…. TEQSA commissioner “retired”…. Holmesglen & Healthscope partner for new private hospital
At a time of some debate about the quality of university education, RMIT vice-chancellor Margaret Gardner says there has been a ‘quiet revolution’ in university teaching which has seen a steady but significant improvement since the mid-1990s.
Each year’s increase in graduates’ satisfaction with their teaching has been modest but over two decades the improvement has been big enough to indicate a transformation in university teaching. This improvement has occurred even though there has not been substantial performance funding to boost teaching, nor does teaching earn the reputational rewards that university rankings give to research The steady improvement in university teaching in Australia is due to a mutually reinforcing combination of several factors.
The first, and most important, is academics’ commitment to their discipline and their students.
A second important factor has been robust measures of the quality of courses and teaching, and their deployment throughout universities in a way that supports teaching improvement.
Life & stuff
8 November 2013 | On Tuesday 12 November, the ABC will broadcast the first of four one hour interviews of Paul Keating by Kerry O’Brien. It ought to be great oral history. This piece from The Scan archive explores Keating’s often excoriating use of language. He’ll come across as a “political brawler” and, as Michelle Grattan once described him, a “bit mad” (“Look Ma, downhill, one ski, no poles”) – as undoubtedly he was – but the “real” Keating is also quite reserved, very polite (in the right circumstances) and “cultured”, down to his rather magnificent copperplate handwriting (rendered, of course, with a Mont Blanc fountain pen).
One of the great disher outers in Australian politics was Paul John Keating, ALP Prime Minister of Australia from 1991 to 1996 and before that the Treasurer (Finance Minister) from 1983. “PJ”, as he was affectionately known to his admirers (of which I am one), was truly a masterful exponent of the pithy put down, the scathing metaphorical thrust, the three or four word depiction of his point (it did occasionally bring him undone as with “the recession we had to have”).
A favourite illustration of Keating’s use of “crude, offensive language” is that he once told the Parliament that those opposite (the Opposition, in Australian parliamentary terms) were “like dogs returning to their own vomit” because they had no new insights or ideas into or about public policy.
Except Keating was quoting from the Bible – Proverbs 26:11 –
Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.
On Remembrance Day, 11 November, in 1993, then prime minister Paul Keating spoke movingly about the just-interred Unknown Soldier, whose remains brought from France that week lay at the centre of that year’s commemoration ceremony. On Remembrance Day 2013, a brass plaque will be dedicated in the Hall of Remembrance with the words from the speech:
He is all of them. And he is one of us.
We do not know this Australian’s name and we never will. We do not know his rank or his battalion. We do not know where he was born, nor precisely how and when he died. We do not know where in Australia he had made his home or when he left it for the battlefields of Europe. We do not know his age or his circumstances – whether he was from the city or the bush; what occupation he left to become a soldier; what religion, if he had a religion; if he was married or single. We do not know who loved him or whom he loved. If he had children we do not know who they are. His family is lost to us as he was lost to them. We will never know who this Australian was.
Yet he has always been among those whom we have honoured. We know that he was one of the 45,000 Australians who died on the Western Front. One of the 416,000 Australians who volunteered for service in the First World War. One of the 324,000 Australians who served overseas in that war and one of the 60,000 Australians who died on foreign soil. One of the 100,000 Australians who have died in wars this century.
DESIGNING MODERN LEARNING STRATEGIES FOR THE MODERN WORKPLACE
11-13 November 2013 | Australian Technology Park, Sydney