Broadband connections in Australia compare very unfavourably with those in Germany, according to visiting expert Berhard Rohleder, head of the German Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media. The basic broadband service provided by Germany's Deutsche Telokom is two megabytes per second compared to Telstra's 256 kilobytes per second, at only slightly greater cost. See 'Speed up or miss the train' by Tony Boyd in the Australian Financial Review 4 November 2005. (Fee-based online access available)
A poll has recently been held to elect teacher representatives to the council of the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT). Two sharp critics of the VIT, Brendan Murray and Michael Lester, have been elected by secondary teachers. The VIT's 20-member council has 14 teacher representatives. See report in The Age 7 November 2005.
The Assessment and Qualifications Alliance Board in England has found that teachers' assistance of students in GCSE English coursework 'amounted to mass plagiarism' in some instances. Examiners found that in some cases students' essays were ordered in identical fashion, with paragraphs even beginning with the same sentences. There is a suspicion that too much essay writing scaffolding by teachers may be one of the causes of the problem. See the article by Alexandra Blair in the Times Online 3 November 2005.
A report, commissioned by the Minister for Education, Science and Training, Dr Brendan Nelson, has called for graduate teachers to be able to demonstrate 'personal literacy skills' before they receive accreditation as teachers, as there was a concern that many would not be able to impart literacy skills in the classroom. The finding has received support from the Australian Principals Association and some academics in university education faculties. See Prove literacy, teachers told by Justin Norris, and Student teachers lack literacy: report in The Age 8 November 2005.
Victorian principals want a review of the self-management school system because of the stress caused by the administrative workload of their positions, according to Caroline Milburn in The Age. Principals are finding that their attention has been diverted from the core areas of the school – student educational outcomes and teaching quality – to more peripheral issues such as school maintenance, administration and occupational health and safety, a symptom of an ever more demanding workload. The Victorian Association of State Secondary Principals has called for a 'rethink' of the principal's position. See the article in The Age 7 November 2005.
The responsibility to recruit teachers to fill teaching positions in South Australian schools will be devolved from the Department of Education to schools from 2006. As a result of the reform, schools will interview and select applicants to fill vacancies, which will give them a greater capacity to match teachers to the context of the school and the community. For more information see the Media Release 7 November 2005.
The Western Australian Government has announced the ten schools that will pilot the Community Service Program in 2006. The program, due to start in 2007, will see Years 10 and 11 students engage in 20 hours of community service as part of their schooling. For more information see the Media Statement 8 November 2005.
The Education for All: Global Monitoring Report 2006 monitors progress towards the achievement of the goals established by the World Education Forum in Dakar in 2000. Those goals include universal primary education, gender parity in school education and a 50 per cent improvement in adult education. The report, launched on 9 November, found that there was 'insufficient' progress on many of the Forum's goals, and that more needed to be done in countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and West Asia if the goals were to be achieved by 2015. A summary of the report is also available.
A Queensland educational philanthropy seminar will be hosted on 10 and 11 December by the Education Development Office Management Service (EDOMS). Topics include strategic planning, prospect research, donor cultivation, sponsorship and bequests.
The Gifted Education Research, Resource and Information Centre (GERRIC) at the University of New South Wales is offering free workshops to parents and teachers of gifted children in remote and regional areas, including Dubbo, Mount Isa and Wodonga. The workshops will focus on issues and research in gifted education, and offer ways for parents to maximise their children's learning at home and school. Workshops run from October 2005 until June 2006.