A meeting of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in Sydney has identified meeting the educational needs of low socioeconomic status school communities and improving the quality of teaching in schools as major priorities. The meeting also provided for additional funds for education systems to cover the cost of installing new computers in schools. See COAG Communique 3 July 2008. See also report in The Australian 4 July 2008 and commentary in The Age 3 July 2008.
Australian Minister for Education and Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard has expressed support for the idea of a teacher recruitment campaign, based on one used in Britain that is designed to attract high-performing tertiary graduates into teaching. Speaking after an address to the City of London Corporation, she also reaffirmed support for a system of performance pay, based on a broad range of measures and to be negotiated with the States and Territories. See article in Sydney Morning Herald 2 July 2008, which also covers comments from the Australian Education Union (AEU).
Applications for the 2009 DEEWR Scholarships for Career Advisers have been extended and now close 31 July 2008. Industry Placement Scholarships provide $10,000 for a short-term industry placement to further successful applicants’ skills and knowledge of workplaces, industry sectors and/or occupations. Study Scholarships provide $5,000 for successful applicants to undertake postgraduate study in career education in 2009. Both types of scholarships are available to career advisers and practitioners at Australian schools, TAFEs and universities. Industry Placement applications are particularly sought. For assistance in preparing an application, please contact Cameron Picton at firstname.lastname@example.org or (03) 9207 9600.
The Knowledge Bank 2008 online conference will take place on 22–23 July. The conference will focus on Web 2.0 in education: what it is, how it is being used today and its potential to radically change education. Web 2.0 technology will be demonstrated over the six sessions of the conference. Participation is free but participants must be registered first.
Concerns have been expressed at the trialling of a system to make Indigenous parents’ welfare payments conditional on adequate school attendance by their children in the Northern Territory. See article by Ruth McCausland, a senior researcher at Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning, University of Technology Sydney, in Online Opinion 30 June 2008.
In the USA the Senate Appropriations Committee has approved a measure that would eliminate funding for the high-profile Reading First program. The program has been heavily funded and promoted by the US Government, but a recently published study by the US Department of Education found that the program has not improved students' reading performance. See article in USA Today 1 July 2008 and earlier report 27 June 2008 in Education Week (registration required).
State schools in Western Australia 'are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on consultants to help them find staff', prompting calls to reduce costs by returning to a central transfer system, according to an article in the West Australian 30 June 2008.
Senior officers in the Victorian education system 'have privately suggested that 200 to 300 schools would benefit from joining to form state-of-the-art campuses', according to a report in the Herald Sun 30 June 2008.
The DrugInfo Clearinghouse will be hosting a free interactive seminar on Wednesday July 16 exploring the theme 'Alcohol and Young People: The Influence of Parents' from a parent's perspective, and discussing some of the ways in which workers can engage with parents. The seminar also aims to provide opportunities to discuss issues arising from the DrugInfo newsletter and Prevention Research Quarterly. The seminar will take place from 10:00am to 12:30pm on Wednesday 16 July 2008 at Angliss Conference Centre, 555 La Trobe St, Melbourne.
Leaders of Australian technical colleges have urged the Australian Government to reconsider plans to abolish their funding. See article in The Australian 30 June 2008.
Some prominent figures in England's teacher unions are arguing that the current national curriculum hinders educators' ability to tailor teaching to students' needs. See article in the Guardian 11 June 2008.