Category Archives: Education

CHRIS BONNOR. Indigenous education: closing – and opening – the gaps.

The reports and narratives around the strategy to close the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians are quite well-known, if only because they don’t change much from year to year. With the possible exception of education, not many targets are … Continue reading

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MICHAEL MULLINS. Joyce’s schooling is the real scandal

It is unhelpful to judge Barnaby in the way the prime minister Malcolm Turnbull did on Thursday. It’s better to focus on a critique of the culture. His leadership of the Nationals may be no longer tenable, but the best … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Politics | 6 Comments

PETER BUCKSKIN. Closing the gap on Indigenous education must start with commitment and respect.

There were angry rumblings at last week’s meeting of Indigenous leaders and the Prime Minister and in the Close the Gap Campaign Steering Committee Report. They will get significantly louder with today’s release of the 10th Annual Closing the Gap Report. 

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PAUL RODAN. Colleges of Advanced Education.

Roger Scott’s trilogy on the state of higher education raised a number of important issues, several of which might have led me to the keyboard, but his observations about the former colleges of advanced education (CAEs) seem particularly worthy of … Continue reading

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DON AITKIN. Whose universities are they, anyway?

Roger Scott’s extended rebuttal of Ross Gittins’s excoriation of ‘money-grubbing’ universities, and the publication of three books about the recent past and possible future of higher education, suggest that all is not well in academe. While all has never, at … Continue reading

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TREVOR COBBOLD. ACT private schools have the mother of all special deals.

The Turnbull Government promised to eliminate all special deals for private schools under its Gonski 2.0 funding plan. However, new data released through Senate Estimates reveal that the $58 million adjustment fund for ACT private schools announced last year is … Continue reading

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ROGER SCOTT. Postscript on Australian universities: ‘are we near the Kodak moment’? Part 3

In March 2017, under a headline ‘Digital disruption lowers costs of pricy masters degrees’ the Australian Financial Review reported: A round of price-cutting has broken out in the market for high-priced masters degrees with four Australian universities offering students a … Continue reading

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ROGER SCOTT. Response to Gittins on higher education – Part 1.

‘Ross Gittins says We’ve turned our unis into aimless, money-grubbing exploiters of students (Canberra Times, 17 September 2017] What is there to say about Gittins’ comments, I was asked by John Menadue.  How valid are his general contentions and how valid are … Continue reading

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LINDA SIMON. What has happened to enrolments in the TAFE sector?-The creeping commercialisation of education.- A REPOST from October 6 2017

Enrolments in the TAFE sector have dropped in many qualifications. Tracing the reasons for this change at a time when Australia needs more skilled technicians and paraprofessionals is complex.  They appear to be tied to the overall changes in funding … Continue reading

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CHRIS BONNOR AND CHRISTINA HO. Selective school decisions coming back to haunt us.

Almost alone in Australia, New South Wales has been expanding its number of selective schools, accompanied each time by arguments about the need to increase choice and cater for the gifted and talented. And each time we are left with … Continue reading

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ROGER SCOTT. 1987 and the “Dawkins Revolution”.

This is part 2 of my response to an invitation to share my memories linked to the release of Cabinet papers from 1987. Here I will focus on the tertiary education reforms instituted by federal Education Minister John Dawkins.

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TREVOR COBOLD. Govt. Failure to Ensure Private School Systems Distribute Funding According to Need Will Continue Under Gonski 2.0

A recent report by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) has slammed the Commonwealth Government for failing to ensure its funding of private school systems is distributed according to need and for not knowing how private school systems distribute their … Continue reading

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CHRIS BONNOR. Schools: will we ever join the dots?

I have this little website, Edmediawatch, which monitors media reports about schools. It is a long-running repository of policies, decisions, research and commentary. I even have an ‘Edu-fact check’ section which uses a variety of f-words to pass judgment on … Continue reading

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PETER GOSS. How to achieve excellence in Australian schools: a story from the classroom

A new Gonski review is examining how to achieve educational excellence for Australia’s 3.8 million school students. The success of the review will ultimately depend on whether its recommendations lead to better practice in the classroom. And the best way … Continue reading

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FRAN MARTIN. Overstating Chinese influence in Australian universities

Both Australia’s national government and its security agency ASIO have expressed concerns over the influence that the Chinese government exerts on Chinese student groups studying at Australian universities. They have also accused Beijing of using those groups to spy on … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Education, International Affairs | 3 Comments

FRANCESCA BEDDIE. The way ahead for VET

The Productivity Commission’s five-year review, Shifting the Dial, recommends reforms in vocational education and training (VET). These are based on ‘the key premise…that skills formation is one of the central pillars for productivity improvement, even if its benefits are not … Continue reading

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CHRIS BONNOR. Wealthy parents flock to public schools

The results of the 2016 census are continuing to roll out. This time it is the turn of school education to grab the headlines, most recently with Fairfax telling us that wealthy families are turning away from elite private schools.

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CHRIS BONNOR. Labor’s National Schools Forum – Gonski 2.0 in a day?

Remember the newly elected Rudd Government’s 2020 Summit back in 2008? It was a high-profile gathering of a sympathetic audience to address pre-selected policy issues and options. Far from coming up with answers, the education sessions at the Summit managed … Continue reading

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LINDA SIMON. Productivity Commission shirks real problems in VET

The Productivity Commission has undertaken a five year review of Australia’s productivity performance, identifying skills and the VET sectors as an area of concern.  But have they got the answers?

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JOHN MENADUE. The growing social divide.

There are ominous signs that Australia is breaking up into different social tribes.  Our claimed egalitarianism and social mobility are under serious challenge.  A mixed society is the best guarantee of social cohesion and social improvement.  That social cohesion arising … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Education, Health, Housing, Politics | 4 Comments

SUSAN RYAN. Skills retraining still more miss than hit.

Like car manufacturers who, despite decades of notice, still left many workers stranded, NAB’s more sudden announcement underlines the fact that massive redundancies are not only a feature of “old” industries.

Posted in Economy, Education | 1 Comment

DON EDGAR AND PATRICIA EDGAR. University reforms needed for the longevity economy.

Tinkering at the edges of university financing and student loan repayments ignores the tsunami of social change that is the real challenge for Australia’s future higher education system. Nick Xenophon is right to call for a full-scale inquiry into higher … Continue reading

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LINDA SIMON. Axing access and equity in VET!

The axing of TAFE NSW Outreach programs as part of a current restructure process, highlights the importance of these programs to individuals and the community.  It also raises the issue as to VET’s role in delivering access and equity programs … Continue reading

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MERRIDEN VARRALL. Chinese student furore reveals Australia’s poor integration strategy

Why does Australia encourage international — including Chinese — students to study within its borders? Australian universities are about teaching and learning, but they need to be properly resourced to do so, so one reason for encouraging foreign students is … Continue reading

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MICHAEL KEATING. Should VET be contestable?

The introduction of contestability into training markets is often cited as a prime example of the failures of privatisation. However, the totality of the evidence is rarely examined in support of this allegation. This article aims to fill this gap. … Continue reading

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CHRIS BONNOR. A rare opportunity to fix schools

A little news item can tell a big story. This week the Guardian reported on a survey that revealed that Australian parents want schools to teach more social skills. It raises many questions: whose job it is anyway, what will … Continue reading

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TREVOR COBBOLD. Elite Melbourne Private Schools to Get Big Funding Windfalls

Several wealthy Melbourne private schools are set to get large windfall gains from the Turnbull Government’s Gonski 2.0 funding model after revisions to their assessed student need. Many of the schools will get increases of $1-$3.2 million between 2018 and … Continue reading

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EVAN WILLIAMS. University education: the monster in the room.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that anyone lacking a rewarding occupation must be in want of a degree. A university education is not only a good in itself, but an indispensable passport to a satisfying career and a secure … Continue reading

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CHRIS BONNOR. Gonski is back, but who noticed?

The Government has called for submissions into the “Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools” – aka the “second Gonski  review”.  Gonski was about money and equity, this review is about what schools should do.

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JEAN-PIERRE LEHMANN. University challenge: Asia in the scales of global knowledge.

The Times Higher Educational Supplement (THES) has published its 2018 World University Rankings. Rankings are rankings are rankings. They are not Holy Writ! Still they can be interesting fodder for drawing some interpretations and implications. I admit I may be … Continue reading

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