There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning. Debra Bateman (RMIT) on universities caught between a compliance rock and a quality hard place.  It’s a new essay in commissioning editor Sally Kift’s series on what is needed now in teaching and learning, here

And the August international student numbers: Dirk Mulder presents all the states, all the sectors, all the stats, here   Plus, scroll down for his news story on the numbers.

Nothing to know about university performance funding

Will universities performance funding assessments be published?  Senator Louise Pratt (Labor-WA) asked in Estimates. The short answer is no – not that it will matter much

“The assessment of universities under the performance scheme, I don’t expect will be published; that’s a matter of some consideration we still need to have with the sector, I think, to manage whether they want to release their results or not.”   Dom English, Group Manager, HE in the Department of Education advised.

Not that it matters as a measure of performance. Senator Pratt also asked how many universities officials expected to qualify for maximum funding, “We don’t expect any to not receive all of their funding one way or the other, David Learmonth, Department of Education deputy secretary, replied.

“There are some in the sector who do not like the phrase a lot, but I think ‘earned autonomy’ is a reasonable concept to apply here. If your performance is clearly strong and in line with the benchmarks that the panel has determined, then you get the funding and off you go. If there is a gap, then there is a case to be made as to the things you are doing to address that gap, and then the rest of the funding will be released to the provider,” Mr English added.

Where to learn what to do about contract cheating

The TEQSA contract cheating tour played Adelaide yesterday and is on in Darwin today – with 18 dates across the country to follow, through to December 2 in Lismore

The academic integrity all-stars presenting the workshops are Tracey Bretag, (Uni SA), Guy Curtis, (UWA), Christine Slade, (Uni Queensland), and Margot McNeill, (International College of Management Sydney).

The Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency says the workshops cover ways to promote academic integrity, strategies to prevent contract cheating and what to do when you find it.

Avoid scalpers and book  here 

Macquarie U to abolish Faculty of Human Sciences

Academic jobs said to be safe but not necessarily professional staff

Vice Chancellor S Bruce Dowton announced the faculty’s end yesterday. But he did not detail where constituent departments will move, committing to consulting “on the challenges that face us and the changes we will need to consider to simplify the way we work, to align our people and resources with our strategic framework.”

The faculty’s teaching/research departments are Cognitive Sciences, Educational Studies, Linguistics and Psychology.

It hosted the former ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and is a member of the Hearing Cooperative Research Centre.

MU watchers suggest Cognitive Sciences and Psychology might move to Medicine and Health Sciences, with Education and Linguistics off to Arts.

According to union president Nikki Balnave, there are no plans for academic redundancies, but “we believe many professional staff jobs are now under immediate threat.”

Who VET is meant to help

Among the voced political and policy arguments it is worth remembering who the VET system is meant to help – people from all sorts of backgrounds and abilities who have a right to the information and experiences they need to find the course that suits them

So good for Federation U who has a five-day short course on “creative techniques of hair braiding.” It’s “a taster into the world of hairdressing” – a snip (sorry) for $300.

Want to grow training? Make it easier for people to find out what is in it for them.

Work to do on workloads at Flinders U

With a new enterprise agreement adopted, a new structure in place and new teaching positions allocated, the hard stuff seems sorted. It isn’t.

The campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union is lodging an industrial dispute over academic workload models. According to the union, allocation of work starts next month, but “academic staff in most parts of the university have no idea how workload is measured and allocated.” This, the union says, breaches the new enterprise agreement, not least because, “management appears to persist with secretive, opaque and non-compliant workload allocation machinations.”

The NTEU calls for meetings of management and staff at each college to settle on “a collaborative process” to develop workload models. To which the University responded last night, “we have just received a notification from the NTEU and will assess and respond in accordance with the requirements of our Enterprise Agreement.”

International student numbers grow again

August statistics on international enrolment are up 9.5 per cent, with an extra 73,256 students at CRICOS institutions across Australia


 Official August statistics on international enrolments are up 9.5 per cent, with an extra 73,256 students at CRICOS institutions across Australia.  Commencements are up 6.8 per cent with an additional 25,600 students starting study than at this time last year.

NSW has corrected after issues in the July numbers – semester start dates moving from July to August. HE in NSW is now up 1.5 per cent YTD. China commencements in NSW HE also corrected but are still down -3.8 per cent – year to year, that’s 866 students.

The new numbers confirm China is slowing but it is not as bad as the July numbers indicated. Demand from China is now down by 4 percent nationally across all sectors. ELICOS is taking most of the hit, with a 15.9 per cent drop.

Numbers from India are up 35.3 per cent, from 44,874 YTD August ’18 to 60,693 commencements this year. All states and territories, predominantly in VET benefit.

The ACT must be wondering what has happened with VET the only sector in the black.

The full analysis is in Features this morning.


Dirk Mulder is an international education business developer, strategist and market analyst. Contact him @ [email protected]


Carol Evans will become Griffith U PVC Learning and Teaching in February. She joins from the University of Birmingham in the UK.

Also in February, Bianca Beetson will become Griffith U’s new director of the Indigenous Research Unit. She will move from the university’s Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art.