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School leavers' class wars

12 June 2014 | Ellena Savage

Stressed studentYear 12 tertiary entrance exams: turning 17-year-olds into nervous wrecks since the 1830s. They divide the smart from the dumb, the hopefuls from the no-hopers, and, what it boils down to more often than not, the privately educated from the state educated. But what if there was another way, a way that properly acknowledged the impact high schools have on their students' access to university admission?

Uni fee changes will erase egalitarianism

02 June 2014 | Paul Rodan

ANU College of LawAn unregulated fee regime will result in an increase in course costs and will mean substantially larger debts for students after their periods of study. The prestigious Group of Eight institutions can be expected to exploit their reputational positions to charge top dollar. How does a 17-year-old decide whether selecting the degree from the prestige university over the same course at a newer institution justifies an extra decade of debt?

Shorten should handle Gonski gift with care

1 Comment
27 May 2014 | Dean Ashenden

David Gonski stands beside Australian flagThe Government doesn't want it. Shorten does. He can go to the next election with uncontested ownership of one of the most widely supported proposals of recent times. The problem with Gonski's plan, however, is that he wasn't allowed or able to propose solutions anywhere near as big as the problems his review uncovered. This presents Shorten with a tricky dilemma.

Audit Commission's Gonski landmines

05 May 2014 | Dean Ashenden

Christopher Pyne points at a blackboard with the word 'Gonski' crossed outThe Commission of Audit has planted so many landmines across the political landscape that two have been scarcely noticed. One is planted directly under Gonski, the other under the federal role in schooling. Christopher Pyne's brazen effort to get rid of Gonski served only to show that he is not to be trusted. Abbott must be wondering whether this minister could carry the day with the kind of scheme recommended by the Commission.

Best of 2013: End of the education revolution

14 January 2014 | Dean Ashenden

Words 'I give a Gonski' appear over a raised handThe backsliding began before Gonski even got started: his riding instructions were to ensure that 'no school will be worse off'. Since then one backward step has followed another. What the prime minister wants now from the state premiers when they meet on 19 April is not Gonski but the appearance of Gonski. She may not get even that.

Pyne's Gonski shambles

01 December 2013 | Dean Ashenden

Christopher PyneFederal Education Minister Christopher Pyne is correct in saying that the Gonski scheme is a mess, but culpably wrong to use that fact to ditch the whole idea. The Gonski mess shows few of the actors concerned in a good light, and some, including Pyne himself, in a very poor one. Pyne's contribution to this debacle was to act as spoiler from the day the Gonski report was released. In that role he has so far adopted no less than four positions.

Advice for graduating health sciences students

17 October 2013 | Frank Brennan

'My sixth piece of advice is for all graduates and not just those of you who are religious. We all need to develop a comprehensive worldview, nurturing the sense of the transcendent in the human spirit, and holding together in tension ideals and reality, dreams and our shortcomings.' Full text from Frank Brennan's La Trobe Graduation Address, Health Sciences, 18 October 2013.

Equipping students for moral argument

30 September 2013 | Frank Brennan

Full text from Frank Brennan's lecture 'Law teachers as gatekeepers of law, public morality and human rights: Equipping our students for moral argument in a pluralistic legal environment' at the Australian Law Teachers Association Annual Conference 2013.

Universities are changing, not dying

22 September 2013 | Jessica McLean

Fisher Library at University of SydneyThe 'renewal' of Sydney University's Fisher Library has raised eyebrows, with books removed to storage to make way for 'hot desking chill zones and break out areas'. Universities Australia found in 2013 that 88 per cent of survey respondents encourage their children to attend universities. This large pool of students requires educators to accommodate diverse learning needs, and do more than just set essays to assess learning.

Paradox and possibility: The example of Francis

1 Comment
13 August 2013 | Frank Brennan

'You are the first generation of Catholic educators who will not have members of religious orders or congregations present in any number at all in your staff rooms and in your classrooms. Thus the need for lay Catholic educators to cultivate their spirituality while also being attentive to the demands of Church and the Church hierarchy.' 6th International Conference on Catholic Educational Leadership, Sydney, 13 August 2013.

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