Advice for unis on cyber-security

 Education Minister Dan Tehan is organising a briefing for vice chancellors from the Defence Signals Directorate

DSD will “update” them on cyber security risks and advice on strengthening security.

“Universities have a responsibility to their students and staff to have the strongest defences in place (they) are high-value targets for malicious cyber attackers because of the valuable intellectual property and personal information they hold,” the minister says.

Any university leader who mistakes the minister’s assistance for a denial of status attack might want to consider the security breach of data covering 19 years at ANU and the way the University of Queensland’s internet was interfered with last week.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning, Dawn Bennett (Curtin U) on the new graduate capability: thinking for living, this week’s essay in Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s series on what we need now in teaching and learning.

Where the big bucks go in uni funding

The feds have (quietly) released the report on university spending for 2017 – just the thing to read if you have a week to spare

The report looks at the cost of teaching and scholarship, using data provided by 25 universities and while there is a cask of caveats in the analysis there is also a vast amount of data. Points CMM noted include;

* overall labour costs are stable, 57 per cent of funding in 2016, 58 per cent in 2011

* teaching costs ranged from 42 per cent of funding for the research-intensive Group of Eight, to 72 per cent at the teaching-focused Regional Universities Network. The overall average was 53 per cent.

* teaching costs grew 3 per cent annually in 2015-17 but increased student numbers “does not appear” a key driver. “There is no definitive explanation for the increased growth in teaching costs relative to the 2010 to 2015 period.”

* overall bachelor teaching costs relative to base funding was stable, 85 per cent in 2015 and 87 per cent in ’17

* average cost per EFTSL for bachelor degrees rose from $16,200 in 2015 to $16,900 in 2017, a 4.6% rise

* there are swings, and quite possibly roundabouts, in teaching costs at discipline level;

management and commerce increased from 104 per cent to 114 per cent of base funding

dental studies decreased from 143 per cent to 114 per cent

veterinary studies decreased from 152 per cent to 140 per cent

agriculture, environmental and related studies decreased from 97 per cent to 86 per cent


Brace for impact: performance funding measures announcement today

The minister will talk about the new performance measures to fund undergraduate growth places today

As expected (CMM July 29) Mr Tehan will speak at the University of Wollongong at lunchtime after briefing vice chancellors. Scenic vistas aside, why Wollongong? Paul Wellings, who led the expert panel on developing the new measures is VC there.


Indonesia education: a market worth waiting for

If Australian exporters don’t prepare other nations will be ready

The Indonesian education market is huge but for all the free-trade agreement boosting, for now entry isn’t easy (think bureaucracy, like India) or worth a bunch of effort (foreign universities can only set up campuses as not for profits.)

A comprehensive new report from the federally funded Australia-Indonesia Centre, seen by CMM, explains the opportunities and impediments for all Australian education sectors in what could, at least should, be a vast future export market – there are 67m “college age” Indonesians. The demand for VET will be especially high, with a national target of 57m more skilled workers, doubling what exists now, by 2030.

But because the market is hard to enter, and service profitably, Aus universities now offer short courses, dual-double degrees and for-credit pathways to study here, via local providers.  And Australian VET providers report finding partners a struggle, more so than the regulatory environment (which must make a change from home, but CMM digresses). “There are currently no Australian VET providers with a partnership or stand-alone campus.”

The report does not explain how to make a motza, or even set up shop in Indonesia, but is an unmatched source on strategies Australian organisations in HE, VET, Elicos and Ed Tech are already using and market context .

And while not spelt out, there is a message for all Australian institutions interested in the international market, if they do not expand into Indonesia, competitors will. The UK and Canada are interested, in the voced sector. There are 1500 high schools in Java and Sumatra using the German vocational training model. Japanese, German, US and Netherlands universities, are in Indonesia for the long haul, with local offices.

This is a report really worth reading when released.

Vocation Federal Court case

CMM June 3 reported the Federal Court found the former listed training provider made misleading and deceptive statements to the markets. However, this did not include Vocation’s former chair John Dawkins. The court rejected the allegation he had been involved in making these statements to the market.

Research performance isn’t everything at Macquarie U

There is a not entirely popular merger between the university’s departments of environmental sciences and earth and planetary sciences, with possible job losses

EPS supporters wonder if it is wise, given the department’s strong research performance.

Somebody asked Vice Chancellor S Bruce Dowton about it, who replies;

“It is true that EPS has been ranked highly at an individual discipline level as have a number of other disciplines across the university and those achievements are to be applauded.  It is also true that we need to consider the rankings of fields where the university either has large student numbers (several of the business school fields) or is growing student enrolments (computer science, engineering etc.).  Rankings are clearly taken into account when considering any change proposal but they are by no means the only factor … there are several pathways and relevance points for institutional and discipline renown.  With careful consideration, each are valid and none are mutually exclusive.”

Claire Field on short courses and herding cats

By Claire Field

If there was a qualification for herding cats the Australian Qualification Framework reviewers and education peak body CEOs could apply for recognition of prior learning

Having just read 75 of the submissions to the AQF Review (those from providers, education peak bodies, peak business groups, and governments/government agencies) I am truly thankful I am not the one who has to find a consensus position.

For example, Universities Australia does not support the inclusion of short courses into the AQF, despite half the university submissions supporting the proposal (to a greater or lesser extent) and Swinburne University having their own credentialing framework, which includes short courses.

Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia and Independent Higher Education Australia argue for clarity at AQF Level Eight. Meanwhile, Navitas questions the rationale for registered training organisations being able to deliver Level Eight qualifications, while private registered training organisation, Institute of Quality Asset Management, argues the AQF is anti-competitive because it prevents RTOs from delivering at Levels Seven, Nine and Ten.

If those examples seem tricky, how about the issue of whether or not the AQF’s hierarchy implies a status hierarchy between VET and higher education? This was an issue raised in a number of VET sector submissions. Meanwhile Sydney College of Divinity (a HEP) describes such claims as “politically correct ideology at work.”

If you want more there’s a fuller analysis on my website.

Claire Field analyses VET and international education.

New policy voice in voced

The influential Bruce Mackenzie has a new think-tank 

The Holmesglen Institute (which he used to lead) has announced the Mackenzie Research

 Institute. With Victoria U having scaled back its Mitchell Institute’s focus on voced the MRI will be a much-needed policy voice for training in the now university dominated debate on post-school education.

“The existing tertiary education framework is not fit for purpose. Vocational education enrolments are in free fall while higher education graduates in many cases are both overqualified and underemployed,” Mr Mackenzie says.

Appointments, achievements

At Monash U Xinhua Wu is appointed PVC for precinct partnerships. She continues as director of both the university’s Centre for Additive Manufacturing and the International Advanced Manufacturing Hub.

Jill Benn (UWA librarian) will take over as chair of the Council of Australian University Librarians, she is now deputy. Ms Benn follows University of Wollongong librarian Margie Jantti who steps down after two terms.

Joanne Cys (PVC UniSA) is awarded an honorary fellowship from the Australian Institute of Architects.

Caroline Chan joins the Australia-Indonesia Centre as skills futures fellow. Professor Chan is president of the Australian Council of Professors and Heads of Information Systems.

The Queensland Government announces members of its second Multicultural Council, including, Ignacio Correa-Velez (QUT), Aparna Hebbani (Uni Queensland), Nkosana Mafico (Uni Queensland),