24 August 2011, by Professor Emeritus Frank Larkins
The Commonwealth Government through the Australian Research Council (ARC) conducted in 2010 the first Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) exercise (1). The responsible minister, Senator Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research has described the ERA exercise as ‘a key element of the government’s agenda for the reform of Australia’s higher education system’ (1). The cumulative cost of the 2010 exercise to all parties involved was at least $100 million for data collection, reporting and evaluation. A further evaluation exercise will be conducted in 2012 to refine the ERA methodology.
24 August 2011, by Professor Robert Wagenaar
Every higher education institution intends or should intend to offer good educational programs, which meet international standards and the needs of society. The notions about what constitutes good educational programs differ, and have changed during time. They also vary between regions and countries in the world. It is remarkable to observe that education is still seen as a national ‘product’ and responsibility while the educational play field has become a global one. Countries and institutions – in that order - try to attract students from all over the word, to offer them education in a national(istic) framework.
24 August 2011, by Prof Glyn Davis
Over the many decades the university sector has collected data on the social origins of public university students, one result has persisted: with rounding, only 15 per cent of students come from the geographic areas home to the 25 per cent of the population with the lowest socioeconomic status (SES).This disappointing result is not for want of effort by universities. Many remedies suggested are already long-standing practices. Universities make allowance for disadvantage in their entry requirements, and encourage outreach programs to disadvantaged schools. There are support mechanisms to support completion as well as commencement. And yet, despite institutional efforts, the status quo endures.