Applications for the 2007 Careers Education Lighthouse Schools Project are now open and will close on 23 June 2006. Schools are able to apply for funding to develop an existing career education project or trial an innovative program that builds on existing good practice. Single schools can apply for up to $10,000, while clusters of schools can apply for between $17,500 and $30,000. The project is funded by the Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST).
A year long research pilot into Discovering new technologies: ICT strand is under way in 16 schools in Queensland. The initiative focuses on making new technologies integral to learning, and aims to provide insights for teachers across all levels of the ICT curriculum. Areas for exploration include personal digital assistants (PDAs), global positioning systems (GPS), audio applications, working scientifically and ICT in fitness learning.
The Learning Federation (TLF) has released over 80 new interactive learning objects and 400 new digital resources. The resources have been released to all Australian and New Zealand education jurisdictions and sectors for distribution to schools. The new selection includes images from the CSIRO Entomology collection and a series of learning objects for Science, Mathematics and numeracy, Literacy for students at risk, Studies of Australia, LOTE (Chinese, Japanese and Indonesian) and Innovation, enterprise and creativity. Visit the TLF showcase for examples.
The New Zealand Education Minister Steve Maharey has announced that the government will boost teacher numbers and put more resources into schools, with an investment of $361 million over the next four years, plus $20 million in the current financial year. The funding provides for more teachers, new classrooms and buildings, and an overall boost to operational funding. A priority will be putting an extra 455 teachers into primary and special schools to further reduce pupil–teacher ratios. Schools’ operational funding will increase by $95.6 million over four years to ensure that it stays ahead of inflation. Another big increase will be in school property funding, where capital funding will increase by $148.9 million. See Ministerial media release 18 May 2006.
Independent, Catholic and public high school principals have challenged critics of proposed changes to the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE), saying opponents are stuck in ‘the golden era of the 1950s’. The president of the South Australian Secondary Principals Association, Bob Heath, has rejected suggestions that the revised SACE would ‘dumb down’ the curriculum for students wanting to take the certificate in Year 12. Association of Independent Schools Executive Director Garry Le Duff has said substantial funding would be needed to make the new SACE work effectively. The SACE report was released in March. See article in The Australian 17 March 2006.
Australia has 'won top marks' in an OECD ranking of migrant students' performance at school. Foreign-born students in Australian high schools perform better than immigrants in most of the other 16 industrialised countries rated in a newly released OECD report, Where immigrant students succeed – A comparative review of performance and engagement in PISA 2003. Migrant students did almost as well in mathematics, science, problem-solving and reading as Australian-born students. See report in The Australian 16 May 2006.
ICT hardware company Cisco is considering cadetships for high school graduates as part of its recruitment strategy. The company is working with high schools to promote IT as a career path. See report in The Australian 16 May 2006.
Private-sector operators are poised to expand into the rapidly growing outside-school-hours childcare market after the budget scrapped caps on subsidised places to cater to unmet demand. Concerns have been raised at the domination of the industry by a single company. See 'Childcare industry shakeout' and 'Labor concerned by ABC expansion' in The Australian 11 May 2006.
More than half a million Victorian school students are now able to learn beyond the classroom, with 1,600 government schools now connected to secure wireless network. Education Services Minister, Jacinta Allan, has described the connection of schools to the secure wireless network as the largest project of its type in the southern hemisphere. The Wireless Network, which allows laptop computers to operate without cables, comprises around 9,000 Wireless Access Points and 1,700 Security Servers. See Ministerial media release 11 May 2006.