Thursday, February 7, 2008

No such thing as free education

There's no such thing as a free education, even in the public school system, and the cost of an education is only getting more expensive.

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show the cost of education rose 6.3 percent in 2005.

Australian Scholarships Group general manager Warwick James estimates it will cost up to $250,000 to educate a child born in 2006 right through secondary school and university.

"Most people fail to realise how much their child's education will cost and our research shows that over three-quarters of Australian parents fail to save for their child's education," he says.

Education writer Maralyn Parker points out that the hidden costs really add up, with the majority occurring in secondary and tertiary years.

"It's not just pens and pencils and paper any more. It's computer disks and software and access to the Internet and these are things children need [in order] to be 21st century students," she says.

Rachel Kelly's daughter Jazmin is starting Year Five at her public school this year. The school fees are $40 a term and they're voluntary. It doesn't sound like much, but then come the extras such as daily lunches, books and stationery, uniforms and excursions. All up, Rachel estimates it will cost her nearly $2500 this year.

Donna Paul has sent her child Hannah off for a private education. It is going to cost her nearly $5000 in school fees for her six-year-old. Then there

Monday, August 27, 2007

Institute to train future leaders

AN institute for the training of the next generation of university and VET leaders would offer consultancy services as well as masters degrees and short courses, its prospectus has announced.

The LH Martin Institute for Higher Education Leadership and Management will open its doors at the University of Melbourne on August 30.

The prospectus, released yesterday, says the institute will allow senior education managers, public servants, policy analysts and researchers to get together to “explore the leadership and management implications of their changing environment and policy framework”.

The institute's main game is education: it will offer masters courses and short award and non-award courses.

The flagship masters will be delivered only part-time and modularised so students can build it around their jobs.

Courses would also be developed for members of governing bodies, the prospectus said.

“Applied research skills in management and policy analysis will form a significant component of the institute's program and may become the centrepiece of specialised award or short courses,” the prospectus says.

Collaborations would be a mainstay for the institute: the University of New England's Centre for Higher Education Management and Policy will be a primary external collaborator, and UNE will be represented on the institute's advisory board.

A university spokesman told The Australian the institute would differ from the existing Centre for the Study of Higher Education in that it would be a teaching institute.

The CSHE is primarily a research body, although the two would collaborate from time to time.

A selection process for a director of the LH Martin Institute was under way, the spokesman said.

The University of Melbourne received $10million in May from federal Education, Science and Training Minister Julie Bishop.

It is named after Leslie Harold Martin, former chairman of the Australian Universities Commission and the author of the 1965 Martin commission report that prompted the establishment of colleges of advanced education.

Brendan O'Keefe | August 08, 2007,25197,22205422-25918,00.html

Annual guide delivers findings

STUDENTS at smaller universities were more likely to give their teachers a tick and be satisfied with their university experience, but student-staff ratios were likely to be better at a Group of Eight university, according to the latest Good Universities Guide.

The annual guide, released yesterday, draws on commonwealth data and student feedback to rate universities on a five-star system.

It is no surprise that the Go8 universities led in research grants. But the University of Wollongong, which has been edging ahead on research, replaced the research-intensive Go8 member Monash in a five-star box for "research intensity".

The guide compares universities' performance on a range of measures, including graduate employment and salaries, international enrolments, staff qualifications and cultural diversity.

This year a new category was added: access by equity groups.

On this measure, Central Queensland University, James Cook, Murdoch, Southern Cross, Tasmania, New England, and the universities of South Australia, Southern Queensland and Western Australia received five stars.

Domestic fee-paying courses ranged in price from $16,100 in the humanities to more than $200,000 in medicine.

Murdoch, Notre Dame and Southern Cross universities were the most affordable for business and management full-fee courses. Ballarat, Edith Cowan and Southern Cross had the lowest fees in computing and information technology. For engineering and technology, Ballarat, Macquarie and Murdoch had the lowest fees. Australian Catholic University, Flinders and Sunshine Coast were the most affordable in humanities and social sciences, and in sciences, ACU, ECU and Notre Dame had the lowest fees.

Universities were quick to seize on favourable findings yesterday to promote their institutions.

Bond University was among those that did the sums: it claimed it had the most five-star ratings of any university.

"The stellar performance by the private, not-for-profit Bond University in Queensland saw it receive the maximum five-star rating in an unrivalled 10 key performance indicators, including a clean sweep of the educational experience and graduate outcomes categories," it said in a statement.

It didn't mention that it only received one star on several other measures, including access by equity groups and indigenous participation.

Overall enrolments were up this year in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy. Languages had the biggest drop in enrolments in the past year, down 33.3 per cent, along with surveying, which fell 25 per cent.

Salaries were up in architecture, paralegal studies, dentistry and surveying. Graduates of medicine, dentistry, surveying and pharmacy had the best employment prospects.

Dorothy Illing | August 15, 2007,25197,22246469-25918,00.html

Year 12 on fast track to UniTas

STUDENTS could shave a year off their undergraduate degrees by starting university in their final year of high school under a radical plan proposed by the University of Tasmania.

The institution wants to set up shop in Tasmania's senior secondary colleges so bright students can study first-year university subjects while completing Year 12.

The proposal would mean students could start university with only two years remaining of an undergraduate degree and could fast-track an academic career to be undertaking a PhD by age 21.

The US-style college plan would also include a Year 13 for those students who wanted to ease into university by undertaking the first year in a school setting.

Secondary-school teachers would be trained by the university to teach the first-year subjects and the institution would set up centres of excellence in the state's senior secondary colleges, which now are just years 11 and 12.

The idea was sparked by government reforms, called Tasmania Tomorrow, of the state's senior secondary school system.

UniTas vice-chancellor Daryl Le Grew said the model would allow 16 and 17-year-old students to study university subjects while at school.

"We can actually design a university college system just for years 11, 12 and 13 (that) is effectively a crossover between secondary college and university," he said.

"It is very exciting and is very different to anything that is offered around the country."

He said he hoped the proposal would stimulate discussion and debate in the sector, much as the University of Melbourne's model did. The Tasmanian model would give students several options and pathways through university, and it would not just be for the elite.

"For some kids, the first year taught inside the school system would suit them better, while others, because they are really bright, can take their first year in Year 12 and move straight into second year at university," Professor Le Grew said.

He said Tasmania proposed a university certificate of education that would be the equivalent of a high school certificate.

"We have negotiated for some of our subjects to count into the score," Professor Le Grew said.

Previous academic acceleration programs had been successful and this model hoped to build on that popularity.

Professor Le Grew said many students were attracted to fast-tracking their university degrees.

"(Students think:) 'If I can do it a year ahead then I am an early bird in my professional field,"' he said.

He hoped the radical model would attract more international students by having structured pathways from senior secondary colleges straight into university.

The new model would offer built-in international exchanges meant to substitute for the gap year from which many prospective students never returned to study.

Professor Le Grew said the Tasmanian Government had given a 2009 deadline to formalise the proposal. He hoped the Tasmanian model would generate as much debate as the Melbourne model.

"The Melbourne model has been really useful in the sector. It has been a terrific stimulation and discussion point," Professor Le Grew said. "I hope this does a similar thing."

Print Milanda Rout | August 01, 2007,25197,22167627-13881,00.html

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Nine Values for Australian Schooling

Nine Values for Australian Schooling were identified for the National Framework for Values Education in Australian Schools. They emerged from Australian school communities and the National Goals for Schooling in the Twenty-First Century. They are presented below in alphabetical order and not in any rank order of importance.

These shared values such as respect and 'fair go' are part of Australia's common democratic way of life, which includes equality, freedom and the rule of law. They reflect our commitment to a multicultural and environmentally sustainable society where all are entitled to justice.

Individual schools will develop their own approaches to values education in partnership with their local school communities, including students, parents, caregivers, families and teachers. These approaches should be consistent with the National Framework for Values Education in Australian Schools and with their State/Territory policy.

Care and Compassion
Care for self and others

Doing Your Best
Seek to accomplish something worthy and admirable,
try hard, pursue excellence

Fair Go
Pursue and protect the common good where all people
are treated fairly for a just society

Enjoy all the rights and privileges of Australian
citizenship free from unnecessary interference or
control, and stand up for the rights of others

Honesty and Trustworthiness
Be honest, sincere and seek the truth

Act in accordance with principles of moral and ethical
conduct, ensure consistency between words and deeds

Treat others with consideration and regard, respect
another person’s point of view

Be accountable for one’s own actions, resolve
differences in constructive, non-violent and peaceful
ways, contribute to society and to civic life, take care of
the environment

Understanding, Tolerance and Inclusion
Be aware of others and their cultures, accept diversity
within a democratic society, being included and
including others


Thursday, June 28, 2007

University Application Tips

The application process is the most important step in getting into the University of your choice. Do all you can to make it reflect the qualities you have to offer. Here are some tips:

To ease the stress of your High School Graduation year, get started on your applications early in the Term. Most schools offer both an online application ( and a paper application. Apply online, and make the process easier on yourself! The online applications you'll find on the process is simple and secure. Regardless of if you're applying with a paper application or online, following are some things to keep in mind so you complete your applications correctly.

Step 1: Review each of your applications

It is a good idea to familiarise yourself with each application you plan to fill out.
• How many pages is the application?
• What are the essay questions?
• What Supplemental Forms are required? (e.g., recommendation forms,
transcript request forms, etc.)
• Read the application instructions!
Know your deadlines! Keep a list of deadlines beside your bed, in your binder, on the refrigerator--anywhere that you will see it often. Missing an application deadline automatically means that you've missed your chance to apply.
You may also want to visit the school's website for more information, or request that you be sent a catalog and any financial aid information you may need.

Step 2: Send your test scores to schools

Most colleges will need a copy of your HSC/VSAT/OP scores from the University Admissions Board (UAC, QTAC etc), the body that administers University Entrances in Australia.

Step 3: Secure your recommendations

Many colleges will require two or three letters of recommendation. They are usually looking for letters from high school teachers, guidance counselors or others who know you in an academic or leadership capacity. Here are some hints:
Start early: Approach your potential letter-writers about two months prior to the actual due-date of the letters with your request. Teachers and guidance counselors are usually swamped with term papers and other college application requests toward the end of the fall semester, so allow them plenty of time to address your needs.
Choose carefully: When requesting a letter of recommendation, pick someone whom you feel knows you well.
Prepare the recommendation letter writer: Give each of your letter-writers one page of information about yourself. This information will help the letter-writer compose a thoughtful and accurate recommendation. Make sure to provide your letter-writers with stamped envelopes addressed to your colleges--don't count on them to take this responsibility!

Keep track of the deadlines: Do not hesitate to remind your letter-writers of deadlines. People do forget, and you don't want the admissions office to be waiting for this last piece of your application. Most colleges will not review your application until all parts have been received.

Step 4: Send your transcripts to schools

All Univsersities will want an official copy of your academic transcripts as part of the application package. As with letters of recommendation, most universities will require that your school send your transcripts directly to their admissions office. To be safe, leave plenty of time for your high school registrar to process your request.

• Most high schools have their own transcript request forms, but some don't. Find out from your school guidance counselor what your school requires to obtain an official transcript.
• Give your high school at least three weeks notice prior to the deadline. This way, you can make sure your transcripts will arrive at your colleges on time. Do not submit your request the day before your college deadline and expect it to be completed!
• Some universities also require a Secondary School Report. Check to see which colleges want these reports and submit a request to your high school at the same time you submit your request for transcripts.
• A number of uni's may request that you send a copy of your official transcript along with your application. In that case, simply enclose the sealed envelope with the rest of your application. Do not break the seal on the envelope or your transcripts will not be accepted!

Step 5: Fill out the application

Apply online and say goodbye to loose sheets of paper, white-out and messy handwriting! Fill out your applications at your own pace, and come back as often as you like until you are finished. Each online application you start will contain your profile information so that you don't have to re-enter it each time!

If you're doing a paper application, remember neatness counts so you'll want to print or type perfectly.

Step 6: Write your essays

This is by far the most time-consuming and difficult part of any application. The personal essay will usually be about 300 to 500 words in length, occasionally longer, depending on the university or admissions centre.
The following tips can help you get started:

• Pick a topic that is unique to you-be original!
• Using dialogue or humorous anecdotes is almost certain to spice up your essay. Instead of just telling what somebody said to you, quote them.
• Write several drafts before preparing your final version. This will help you develop your own voice in your essay and help you organise your thoughts more clearly.
• Have several people look over your drafts and offer their comments and suggestions.
• Always check for spelling and grammar. Take care not to make silly mistakes by proofreading.

Step 7: Submit your application

You will receive two e-mail confirmations after you submit your application:
1. will immediately send you an e-mail to confirm that your application was successfully submitted

If you're submitting by mail, you'll want to refer back to the instructions to ensure all of the proper forms are in the envelope. You'll also want to make sure you put the correct amount of postage on the envelope since most application packets will cost more than a single stamp.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Howard pumps up Sydney's private schools

The Howard government pumped more than $30 million in funding last year into 60 NSW private schools and many of these are in marginal seats, it has been reported.

News Limited said documents obtained under Freedom of Information (FoI) laws showed Prime Minister John Howard had embarked on a grant handout spree ahead of this year's election.

"Many of the schools, which include low-fee independent and religious colleges, are situated in seats that could determine the outcome of the election later this year," the report reads.

It also said the money was handed out "despite NSW public schools having a $112 million maintenance backlog".

The FoI documents show $31,981,475 was paid to the schools in grants last year.

In one example, Catholic school Xavier College at Penrith received $2.3 million for a building program.

The FOI documents also show the taxpayer grants for private and independent schools across the country total $489 million over four years.

©AAP 2007