Treat, definitely treat

“This morning I dropped into schools around my electorate to surprise local teachers for World Teachers’ Day,” shadow education minister Tanya Plibersek, via Twitter Friday. And it’s not Halloween to Thursday.

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 Dirk Mulder on how the regional visa bonus scheme is working for international education enrolments. Plus, scroll down for his news analysis of the weekend’s big news for Perth and the Gold Coast.


Deakin U takes the flag for fast Open Day thinking  

The university’s Mind Racer campaign wins three digital comms AMY awards in the education, customer engagement and trailblazer categories

Mind Racer was developed for Open Day, using a brain-computer interface for players to race slot-cars, with a visual display showing racers’ brain engagement.

As a way of demonstrating Deakin U science this was a winner –  some 18 000 OD visitors raced or watched and 150 000 people saw it on social media.

Makes a change from OD campaigns that explain how a university’s degrees equip grads to save the world from injustice and environmental crisis.

Perth and Gold Coast win regional city status for international students


The cities are set to join the national regional bonus scheme for international students from 16 November

The Commonwealth has added Perth and the Gold Coast to regional centres for skilled migration and international student visas. All of Australia ex Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney now count as regional centres, where study translates into extended post gradation work rights. The move is supported by an increase in regional migration places from 23 000 to 25 000.

This is big news for education institutions on the Gold Coast, and especially in WA.

Last week the state government added graduates of WA voced institutions to its local skilled migration programme (CMM October 21).

WA certainly needed to act. The August international figures just released show WA VET still sliding at negative 8.3 per cent – the only state VET sector in the red.

The weekend announcement should see a turnaround in the west, on the basis of VET growth for other states already in the scheme, SA VET is up 43.5 per cent, TAS 78 per cent, NT 108.3 per cent with VET growing in the ACT by 13.1 per cent.

My full analysis of the impact of the regional scheme in August is in CMM Features this morning.

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

The new ARC research centres: where they all are

This year’s ARC research centres were excellently announced over-time, to maximise awareness of government funding. With Friday’s two wins for Uni Queensland it is now clear which got what

Uni Queensland did best, with three centres, with Macquarie U, QUT, RMIT, ANU, Uni Melbourne, and Uni Newcastle all winning one each.

It was a good-ish result for the humanities and social sciences. The Centre for Children and Families over the Life Course (Uni Queensland), received funding for a second seven years and QUT will host a centre research children’s digital practises, which cheered-up the Deans of Arts, Social Science and Humanities, “It has finally happened! The complete ARC Centre of Excellence outcomes, including two classified as primarily HASS, and many others incorporating HASS experts, methods and knowledges,” DASSH tweeted Friday.

Perhaps the outcomes will also please the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, which complained in May that the potential of the social sciences is too oft ignored in resourcing the government’s nine research priorities (CMM May 29).

UNSW super-speed Illinois connection

The university joins the Chicago Quantum Exchange

It’s a collection of 100 scientists and engineers from government, universities and industry working on quantum computing and sensing at Uni Chicago.

The Dutch QuTech collaboration and UNSW are the first ex-US organisations to join the Exchange.

According to Uni Chicago, UNSW quantum physicists and electrical engineers are, “world leaders in silicon-based quantum computing.”


Craven warns: numbers don’t add up for teacher-ed maths

Making maths compulsory for entry to primary teaching courses in NSW will, “cause long-term damage to the teaching workforce,” warns Greg Craven

“This move on maths will simply dissuade more students from opting to take up teaching. It will reduce the pool by another 25 per cent, meaning the government will not be able to staff its new schools and will have to import teachers,” the Australian Catholic U VC says. Professor Craven refers to a state government announcement last week.

Professor Craven adds the new requirement is not needed as primary teaching students take maths at university and that all teaching grads must be in the top 30 per cent of the community to qualify for classrooms.

This is measured in the national Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education. In last year’s LANTITE 92 per cent of ’17 grads made the cut – ACU campuses were bang on the national average, except in NSW, where there were still well above the cut-off b (CMM April 23).

Professor Craven argues the state government’s move is a distraction from, “the need to provide stronger assurance of existing teachers.”


ASQA chief sticks to tact

In Senate Estimates last week Senator Louise Pratt (Labor-WA) asked the training regulator how it was going in saving students from poor providers

It was a tricky question for interim chief commissioner Saxon Rice who is in the job following the government telling the Australian Skills Quality Authority to switch regulatory approaches, in essence to adopt, more consulting and less crucifying.

Ms Rice declined Senator Pratt’s proffered free kick, acknowledging the concerns of Liberal backbencher Andrew Laming, who gave the agency a frank corporate character reference for what he suggested was its heavy-handed regulation of private providers (CMM August 2). “It’s absolutely our duty to take on board the comments of the sector and stakeholders in order to ensure that we have the most contemporary regulatory model and are communicating well with the sector,” Ms Rice said.

Tehan pitches to the people

The education minister celebrated World Teachers Day Friday

“We pay tribute to all hardworking teachers right around Australia for their tireless contribution towards education,” the Education Minister said. Pretty much as he did for Principals Day (CMM August 5).

Mr Tehan also commissioned a House of Reps inquiry into improving the working circumstances of classroom teachers (CMM November 16).

The minister also presents as a friend to working researchers, (CMM September 19), particularly women – he has told the Australian Research Council to get moving on gender parity in the college of experts and in early career funding applications (CMM October 11).

If there is a pattern here it could be the education minister is pitching direct to the people who do the work, instead of making his case via peak bodies and lobby groups – some of which backed Labor spending proposals at the election.

The great state of NSW history

The State Library of NSW announces funding for research in its collections

Sally Young (Uni Melbourne) is awarded the $100 000 Coral Thomas Fellowship to write a history of the political and corporate power of Australian media dynasties.

David Hansen (ANU) has the Ross Steele Fellowship ($20 000) for a study of the acquisition/exhibition of 50-100 pictures in the Library’s collection.

Ben Huf (Uni Sydney) will use his $20 000 A M Hertzberg to explore the creation of Australia’s monetary system in colonial NSW.

Rebecca Jones is awarded the C H Currey Fellowship. She will use its $20 000 for a study of Australian responses to extreme weather.

Sophie Robinson’s (UNSW) Nancy Keesing Fellowship ($20 0000) will support her project on Sydney’s lesbian sub-culture in the ‘90s.

Clare Monagle (Macquarie U) will use the Australian Religious History Fellowship ($20 000) to research the emergence of Christian feminism.

Jarrod Hore (Macquarie U) receives the David Scott Mitchell Fellowship ($20 000) to explore the work of geologist William Branwhite Clark 1839-78.

James Boyce (U Tas) has the Merewether Fellowship ($20 000) to research competing visions for NSW in the Macquarie years, in the context of settlers subsuming Aboriginal land.