Who would have thought it

The government is turning education and research into political positives.  Now why didn’t the coalition think of that?

The conversation you should not miss

 What could be more important for a few hours next week than to consider new opportunities and ideas from emerging Indigenous leaders in higher education?

A host of current and emerging leaders have signed onto panel discussions for Poche SA +NT’s online conference Are You Ready, Australia? hosted by Twig Marketing and Campus Morning Mail.

Tickets are available for next week’s sessions, which run over November 10 and 11. Sign on here: www.indigenoushe.com.au


There’s more in the Mail

In Features this Friday  

PhD students did it tough in the pandemic. AI TAM LE (Deakin U) sets out six ways to help them.

plus JIM NYLAND (Uni Southern Queensland) on why we need an engaged universities accord and what should be in it.

with CLAIRE MACKEN (RMIT) on expanding education access in Vietnam – there’s much to learn from the way people ride motorbikes .

and JO HOETZER and colleagues from ANU and Uni Wollongong on working with students to deliver employability and life-long, life-wide career management skills. It’s a new selection by Commissioning Editor Sally Kift for her celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning.

Andrew Norton on 25 years of analysing HE policy

 In Features this morning he reflects on 25 years of analysing HE policy

It’s a trade where expertise is in short supply, he laments in Features this morning.

“The last few years of government higher education policy have sometimes seemed like one of those Twitter threads that start with ‘wrong answers only’. Would Job-ready Graduates have made it through the policy process if we had accessible research on the drivers of student choices and university supply decisions?”

He is not wildly optimistic looking forward, in particular, to the government’s accord process, “the university submissions will probably be of higher average quality than 20 years ago, but only a limited pool of people have the knowledge and experience needed to produce a politically feasible policy with a reasonable chance of achieving its goals.”

His thoughts are HERE.


Clare sets agenda on teacher workforce

Education minister Jason Clare’s draft national plan consolidates previous announcements and integrates ideas into a programme the states will sign-off and keeps interest groups in the policy tent, even deans of education

Including the initial teacher education establishment – which makes a change from the hostility of the previous government. As part of the plan the Australian Council of Deans of Education will develop a framework for career changers to have previous study, work experience and skills credited towards ITE qualifications.

Other initiatives include

* $40 000 bursaries for “high achieving school leavers” and career changes to study ITE degrees

* recommendations from the Scott Review on ITE will go to the education minco next June

* ITE students eligible for literacy and numeracy skills assessment in first year with an increase in number of goes they get

* data to “inform future university places” at subject specialisation and regional ITE levels  “to enable a national understanding of teacher supply”

* a national quality framework on teacher accreditation and ITE standards

early reaction

Universities Australia welcomed the draft. ““It is time to stop bagging teachers and continue with the job of giving them a strong platform from which to grow and thrive,” Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said.

As did Australian Catholic U’s Mary Ryan, not least because “many of these measures mirror approaches taken at ACU.

And Shadow Education Minister Alan Tudge said the plan was “in the right direction,”  implementing recommendations for initial teacher education supported by the coalition when in office.

Mr Tudge could have stopped there but added, that while some teacher education university courses, “are excellent, others have failed our students over the last two decades … ideology and fads have dominated instructional practice rather than practises based on research of what actually works.”

In playing to his base Mr Tudge expanded Jason Clare’s support in the ITE community.

Husic calls for a national effort on R&D

At UTS last night Industry and Science Minister Ed Husic launched the new Australian Quantum Software Network, which is said to be the world’s most extensive collection of quantum software and information theory expertise

As to making the most of it, Mr Husic’s prepared text points to present policies and planning, the need to lift R&D towards 3 per cent of GDP rather than the present 1.79 per cent and for a national effort by government, industry and research on R&D.

Nine universities combine in a ministry of all the quantum talents

Speaking at the launch, Michael Bremner (UTS) said Australian researchers “have been at the forefront” of theoretical and software foundations of quantum computing but the national effort has been “leapfrogged” by nations, including China and the US, investing more.

Universities in the network are, Griffith University, Macquarie University, RMIT, University of Melbourne, UNSW, University of Queensland, University of Sydney, UTS and UWA.

The four Sydney based members have already combined as the Sydney Quantum Academy, (“quantum expertise to develop diverse talent and a globally recognised quantum ecosystem”).

Partners include Google AI and five Australian companies,

Workers not united at UTS

There are negotiating frictions between the National Tertiary Education Union and Community and Public Sector Union

They differ on some university offers, with the CPSU suggesting the NTEU is “politicising issues” to suit its national agenda.

But any chance of management splitting the unions by securing CPSU support for its enterprise agreement offer (as occurred at Southern Cross U) appears unlikely.

The CPSU tells members it does not want bargaining to drag on and delay pay rises under a new agreement but it adds the university’s offer, is under CPI and unacceptable.

Government funding for VET cracked $10bn last year

But the 37 per cent increase on 2020 is not as impressive as it sounds

The estimable National Centre for Vocational Education Research reports states and territory 2021 funding of $4.2bn was up nearly 10 per cent on 2020 while the Commonwealth kicked in an extra $6.3bn, a 64 per cent increase.

However the biggest element of the increase was in Commonwealth wage support for apprentices and trainees – all up employer assistance was $3.7bn in 2021, a 155 per cent increase in 2020.  In contrast, total spending on “Direct VET delivery” increased by 7 per cent, to $5.4bn.

Payments to TAFE were $4.2bn (up 10 per cent) and to private providers $1.2bn (a 15 per cent increase).

Appointment, achievement

Holly Bradley (Curtin U) wins the Next Generation Ecologist Award from the Ecological Society of Australia.

Mark Cox is appointed executive director for People and Culture at UTS. He moves from the same role at the NSW State Transit Authority.