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There are only two kinds of books in the world : good books and bad books. If you enjoy reading it, then it's a good book. A B Credaro

Budgets come and budgets go, and the last one certainly has. On the night there was little direct “education” mention, though this was not the same a few nights later with the reply from the Opposition. In fact, you might even have thought education wasn’t part of the process.

Indeed, Stewart Riddle [The education budget report card : ‘F’ for Fail] made no bones about his thoughts, covering all levels of education. He makes some interesting points about the government actions [or not] in this area. “Commitment to further uncertainty for the sector” is but one conclusion for higher education, while “tinkering” appears to be a commonly held belief. Perhaps one of his final remarks sums it all up - “Yet any real reform requires vision that goes well beyond our current politics”. Probably says it all.

With respect to higher education [and research], Belinda Robinson has similar concerns. When you indicate that “when it comes to higher education and research funding, deckchairs are more than shuffled, they are hurled overboard”, you are not being complimentary to any side of politics.

The Fixer was very quiet on the night. Wonder what he will pull from his hat in the future, in addition to a projected third try at the impossible ?

If you want to look at actual Budgetary Reports about the education area you can find the Budget Papers here. Be prepared though, because there are 200+ pages of information to plough through and you may not come out the wiser for your efforts. .

Meanwhile, the speech in reply received rave reviews from the gallery, but less so from a range of commentators of all persuasions. Check what was actually said in the ABC Report here. Coding in schools, scholarships, compacts, writing off HECS-HELP debts for 100 000 just in education alone. No wonder they cheered.

Kate Carnell indicated the idea ‘to write-off the HECS debt of 100 000 Australians was interesting, but no idea of paying for it, no idea of which 100 000’. Gavin Moodie and Misty Adoniou indicated the STEM direction was ‘well-meaning but misguided’ and each presented a number of reasons for their belief in relation to their own areas of expertise. Andrew Norton indicated there was ‘No need to spend more than $2 billion promoting STEM subjects’. A number of the university groups ranged from polite concern to ‘describing Labor’s platform as “looking too much to the past”’ [The Australian].

Other groups simply argued about figures, how accurate they were and how they were going to be funded. As with most suggestions from one side of politics, there is a plethora of commentary from opposition group[s]. You can find these across most of the media in various forms.

The one thing you can be sure of in the present climate is that one side will still state “$100 000” degrees and “this budget still includes all of the last one” while the other claims their opponent’s figures are rubbery at best, and the silliness just goes on.

If the present process [now over several years] continues, and both sides play to the public rather than for the country’s benefit, whoever has power in the future will be unable to take the necessary steps without considerable pain and more courage than is presently evident. Some genuine bi-partisanship would go a long way to overcoming the present difficulties and provide a situation that is “fair” both to the present population, as well as that of the future.

Other Areas of Interest

“Looked at over time and ranked against other OECD countries, public funding of Australian universities is at a record-breaking low”. So says Rodney Tiffen in an article entitled The university rankings no government wants to talk about. Full of facts and data, it looks at changes wrought over a long period and pushes for a revision of the existing direction. Well worth a read.

In all the hoo-ha about higher education, child care and other areas of education, training often draws the short straw. Campus Morning Mail, in Training : what we know and what we need brings it to the fore again. No, it is not talking about scandals, collapses, arguments, etc., but the core of what training is about. It refers particularly to work by Francesca Beddie for NCVER, and looks at the existing situation and possibilities for the future. A most interesting snippet and one worth following up.

Who goes to university ? The changing profile of our students could be worth a quick read. You might be surprised at the breakdown and the projections.

The Teacher workforce in Australia : Supply, demand and data issues by Paul Weldon, looks at an area which continues to be in the news for various reasons. ‘Provides a brief overview of the current teacher workforce situation in Australia. It highlights workforce trends and projected growth, and areas where the collection and analysis of additional data may assist in the targeting of effective policy’. At a time when supply outstrips demand and a future where student numbers suggest the opposite, this could be well worth some people having a long read and seeing what suggestions are valid and worthwhile.

Site Changes

The following pages have been completely updated : links, descriptors, exclusions, additions : All Teacher pages, Adult & Community, Middle Years of School and Education Technology. They can be accessed via the Education and Teacher links in the menu.

Updates have been added to the following pages : Calendar, Conferences, Journals.

26 May 2015.

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