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Sunday

Concern over uni staff levels

A Launceston City Council alderman has repeated concerns that senior staff levels at the University of Tasmania in Launceston have eroded. Ald. Robin McKendrick has listed a notice of motion for Monday's meeting, recommending that the council seek an urgent meeting with Premier Paul Lennon to "express serious concerns at erosion of senior staff levels and numbers".The issue was first raised by Legislative Council President Don Wing in July, when he said the facility was concentrating its professors in Hobart at the expense of Launceston.At that time, university executive director for planning and development Paul Barnett said there were 14 non-administrative professors in the North, compared with 50 in Hobart.He said other professorial positions were being considered.A university spokeswoman yesterday said those numbers had not changed and would not make any more comment on the issue.Ald.

McKendrick will speak to the motion on Monday.A Government spokeswoman yesterday said that it was an interesting request because funding and staffing of universities was a Federal Government responsibility.Meanwhile, the council will decide on a road layout for an Outline Development Plan at St Leonards, which may involve a road link between Abels Hill Rd and Johnston Rd to make the transition to the Tasman Highway safer.A report to the council from infrastructure manager Geoff Brayford said the link would "provide for efficient traffic movement from east to west" by removing the two existing 90-degree angle curves on a steep section of Abels Hill Rd which "are dangerous".The council has also been asked to approve changes to the fee structure for truck and combination truck entries to the Remount Refuse Disposal Area.If changes are adopted, they would see a $6 rise to $14 for a covered small combination vehicle up to 4.5t (gross combination mass) and a $6 rise to $18 for an uncovered small combination vehicle up to 4.5t GCM.

But pensioners may receive some slight rates relief, after the council recommended a remission of more than $4500 to 595 pensioners after finding an error with its water charges.HAVE YOUR SAY: Write a letter to The Examiner at PO Box 99, Launceston 7250, or e-mail editor@examiner.com.au.


DISCLAIMER : Media releases are provided as is by the source mentioned and have not been edited or checked for accuracy. Any queries should be directed to the source of the article itself.

Saturday

DIMIA catches 21 illegal workers

Community information has led to the location of 21 illegal workers and visa overstayers in northern Victoria the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Senator Amanda Vanstone said today.

‘Staff from my Department located these people at two caravan parks and two residential addresses during a compliance operation on 22 and 23 March in Cobram and Murchison,’ the Minister said.

Of the 21 people located, 10 were visa overstayers while 11 were illegal workers.

The group, of whom seven were female and 14 were male, came from the following countries: Indonesia (10), Malaysia (8), Vietnam (1), Singapore (1) and Korea (1).

All have been transferred to immigration detention prior to removal from Australia.

‘The operation once again highlights the effectiveness of my Department’s compliance operations in locating and detaining people who are unlawfully in Australia or who breach their visa conditions,’ the Minister said.

The Minister said employers who had doubts about their employees’ entitlement to work can call the Department which will be happy to answer any questions or arrange a site visit if necessary.

‘My Department provides Employer Awareness Training and a free Entitlement Verification facility for employers to check whether their employees are allowed to work,’ the Minister said.

DIMIA officers, often with assistance from state police, make regular visits to workplaces in many parts of Australia, including restaurants, farms, shops, offices, factories and brothels, in an effort to detect and locate people who are in the country illegally or who are working illegally.

People with information on illegal workers or visa overstayers should call the Immigration Dob-In Line on 1800 009 623.

SOURCE : DIMIA

DISCLAIMER : Media releases are provided as is by the source mentioned and have not been edited or checked for accuracy. Any queries should be directed to the source of the article itself.

Victoria Uni - No Strike but tension lingers

VICTORIA University of Technology narrowly averted a 48-hour strike yesterday but discontent among staff remains high.

University administration was at loggerheads with the union after conflicting statements were issued late yesterday.

Vice-chancellor Elizabeth Harman contradicted statements from National Tertiary Education Union VUT branch president James Doughney and general secretary Grahame McCullough that an agreement had been reached for a 22 per cent pay rise to June 2008.

"Despite these statements, no agreement has been reached," she said. "The university has made no new offer to the union. Both parties have been negotiating on an agreement through to June 2006. At this stage this is unchanged.

"The action is prejudicial to future negotiations."

Professor Harman said the university would continue to consider its position "and looked forward to resuming discussions after Easter". Dr Doughney said staff had been concerned about proposed faculty restructures, job losses, planned changes to the academic board and what they saw as a lack of progress in enterprise bargaining agreement negotiations.

He said there was unrest among members about a deterioration in education services and worsening staff conditions at the university.

The union feared that VUT did not want to settle a three-year agreement because management wanted an opportunity to "attack employment conditions as soon as possible after the Howard Government's changes to industrial laws come into effect after July1".

Professor Harman said she was delighted the strike had been averted. "This is good news for our students; however, many students will still be disrupted because of the very late withdrawal of the strike action," she said.

One point that staff and management at VUT are agreed on is the uncertainty the university faces in an era of change.

"The Nelson reforms have made our future uncertain," Professor Harman said.

"We need to protect our future viability and sustainability as a teaching and research institution." Dr Doughney said staff had been feeling uncertain about their future because of the Nelson reforms and the university's refusal to sign an EBA to 2008.

"We are concerned that under [federal Education Minister Brendan] Nelson, this university's income will be reduced and we are desperately concerned that the Nelson plans will see VUT becoming a teaching-only institution," Dr Doughney said.

"The people of the western region here in Victoria fought long and hard to get a real university."

He also raised concerns about the university's decision to replace its academic board.

The university's governing council last year voted to merge the academic and TAFE boards into a smaller, 35-member education board, but critics say the move would turn it into little more than a training institution.

Industrial action is also on the cards at Charles Sturt University because of staff concerns about job security, pay, and staff workloads. Staff at Wagga, Albury and Bathurst will take stop-work action today.

SOURCE : The Australian

DISCLAIMER : Media releases are provided as is by the source mentioned and have not been edited or checked for accuracy. Any queries should be directed to the source of the article itself.

Cheating scandal rocks Sydney University

Australia's oldest academic institution, the University of Sydney, has moved to stamp out plagiarism after more than 200 students were suspected of cheating.

In one department alone -- the veterinary faculty -- 73 of the 628 students were investigated for allegedly copying or fabricating material. Most of the copied material had been taken from the Internet, and in many cases, students were caught by anti-plagiarism software.

Many of the students were made to resubmit their work, although only one was ultimately failed by the faculty.

The Faculty of Health Sciences uncovered 80 cases of alleged cheating. Of these students, 29 were failed, 31 were given written warnings and 17 were counselled.

A further 39 cases were detected in the Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, while 29 economics and business students were investigated, taking the total number of students allegedly involved to more than 200.

Confidential faculty reports were made public under Australia's freedom of information laws.

Plagiarism from the Internet has become so easy that 25 Australian universities have purchased licenses for anti-plagiarism systems. These allow universities to cross reference students' work with previously published material.

But Felix Eldridge, president of the National Union of Students, denied there was a major problem in Australian universities.

"The vast majority of plagiarism is young students misunderstanding academic procedures and not knowing how to footnote," he said.

The University of Sydney has since updated its policy on plagiarism to make students aware they should not take information from new technologies without acknowledgment.

Last year, the University of Western Sydney investigated 39 cases of alleged plagiarism.

SOURCE : Tapei News

DISCLAIMER : Media releases are provided as is by the source mentioned and have not been edited or checked for accuracy. Any queries should be directed to the source of the article itself.

Australian universities join forces to become more competitive

Two of Australia's oldest universities are combining forces to compete with major overseas universities.

The Australian National University (ANU) in the capital, Canberra, and Sydney University have struck an agreement to share international recruiting, research resources and teaching.

The deal will enable the institutions to offer joint tertiary degrees, in which students will be allowed to move between courses at both universities.

They will also be able to apply for funding grants together.

The ANU Vice Chancellor, Ian Chub, says the agreement extends the ability of the two leading universities to provide major research, educational and international opportunities.

"No university can do all it would like to do these days on its own and so you have got to form a few strategic partnerships," he said.

SOURCE : ABC

DISCLAIMER : Media releases are provided as is by the source mentioned and have not been edited or checked for accuracy. Any queries should be directed to the source of the article itself.

Friday

Big blow to IDP - loses lucrative Botswana contract

THE Botswana Government will sever links with IDP Education Australia in a body blow to the universities' troubled international marketing and recruitment arm.

After weeks of speculation that one of IDP's most lucrative contracts was under threat, the company yesterday confirmed that at the end of March the Botswana Government would not renew it.

The Botswana High Commission will take over the $19million student fellowship scheme under which 500 of its students are placed and supported in Australian universities.

A Botswana Ministry of Education spokesman said yesterday his government had had a good working relationship with IDP for more than 10 years. But it would now use itsown officers to administer students abroad.

It began taking over the management of its students in December. The latest move will complete that process.

Botswana pays IDP about $6million every three months under the fellowship scheme.



While the biggest slice of that is passed on to Australian universities for tuition fees and other allowances, IDP retains about $1.5 million a year in management fees.

From the end of March that $6 million will pass directly from the Botswana Government to Australian universities, with the Botswana High Commission managing the program instead of IDP.

It comes at a crucial time for IDP as it pares back its operations and turns to its core business of student recruitment in Asia.

Late last year its critical cash-flow problems triggered the closure of seven overseas offices and 60 staff redundancies. A steady stream of resignations continues to exacerbate the not-for-profit company's woes.

The group blames its crisis on a drop in international student numbers due to external factors beyond its control.

Three days before Christmas universities mounted a rescue bid, pledging $7 million in interest-free loans over two years.

At the same time $6 million in fees from the Botswana contract came to IDP, giving it a temporary reprieve.

IDP president and vice-chancellor of Curtin University of Technology Lance Twomey said then that if the Botswana contract had not come through "IDP would have found it difficult to meet commitments".

Professor Twomey refused to discuss the Botswana contract with the HES after a board meeting on Monday.

In a statement issued yesterday he said: "While students from Botswana were a sizeable segment of IDP's fellowship management in the past, student numbers from other countries have increased, particularly in the Middle East, where IDP has contracts with government and private companies."

In the same statement chief executive Lindy Hyam said: "It has been a privilege to be part of this contract, with IDPand Australian institutions contributing to the human resource development of Botswana."

No one at IDP would speak to the HES about the developments yesterday.

Reported in The Australian
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DISCLAIMER : Media releases are provided as is by the source mentioned and have not been edited or checked for accuracy. Any queries should be directed to the source of the article itself.

Change to CPA Australia's postgraduate strategy ensures diverse offering for MBA studies

Pathways towards members obtaining a masters degree will be streamlined under a postgraduate strategy change by CPA Australia. This change in strategy builds on the strength and reputation of the CPA Program in the marketplace and will enable member access into a broad range of MBAs.

Current MBA credit arrangements with Charles Sturt University, Curtin University and Deakin University and a wide range of other universities around Australia will continue.

Intakes into the three CPA MBA programs - Charles Sturt University, Curtin University and Deakin University - will cease at the end of 2006, however, students enrolled at that time will be unaffected as they will be able to complete their CPA MBA studies and obtain the qualification.

The rationale for this change is to ensure that a diverse offering of postgraduate opportunities is available to all members of CPA Australia and that credit arrangements (recognition of the completion of the CPA Program segments by universities) be pursued to the maximum extent to assist members in completing these programs in the shortest possible timeframe and at less expense.



CPA Australia will continue to encourage and support our members to choose the best MBA for their career progression. While the CPA MBA will be discontinued from January 2007, members currently completing the CPA MBA will continue to be supported.

The MBA programs on offer include both on campus and distance learning study options.

Members based outside of Australia will continue to have access to MBAs through off-shore programs from Australian universities as well as through distance learning.

For further information regarding MBA credit arrangements or the CPA MBA transition arrangements, contact Michelle Webb, education development executive, by email at michelle.webb@cpaaustralia.com.au or by phone on +61 3 9606 9603.

DISCLAIMER : Media releases are provided as is by the source mentioned and have not been edited or checked for accuracy. Any queries should be directed to the source of the article itself.

Thursday

UNSW sets its sights on India

THE University of NSW is boosting its profile in India, a nation with significant research strengths "largely neglected" by Australia's higher education sector.

UNSW deputy vice-chancellor (international and development) John Ingleson said India's rapid economic growth would see its better universities evolve into powerful institutions within 10 years, but it remained "off the radar" in Australia.

In the past four years UNSW has signed 12 memoranda of understanding with Indian universities and institutes and developed special funding for student and staff fellowship programs there.

Other initiatives include the establishment of the Indian Advisory Council, whose members include Indian academics, bureaucrats and business representatives; the hosting of joint conferences; and joint research projects. UNSW also funds staff and student exchange programs.

Professor Ingleson said the Australian higher education sector had concentrated its attention on South-East Asia and as a result had little presence and a low profile in India.



"My reasoning for India is that it has been off the radar screen for Australia and it will be a very important country in the region," Professor Ingleson said.

"We haven't [engaged with India] in the past 20-30 years and we should."

He said a common legal system, the presence of an English-speaking elite and a growing economy made India a natural partner for Australia in education.

India has been identified as the "sleeping giant" of the international student market, but Professor Ingleson said student recruitment was not the university's primary goal.

"The fit was good in terms of our research needs ... it isn't about recruiting students but more about institution to institution links.

"It has to be mutually beneficial not just about ripping out students."



Part of boosting Australia's profile in India was sending staff to key Indian conferences, encouraging research collaborations and financing student exchanges.

UNSW also developed the International Assessments for Indian Schools, launched in India last year by NSW Premier Bob Carr. The tests provide an international benchmark for academic achievement in a range of subjects from Years three to 12. So far, more than 100,000 students have sat the tests in English, science and maths.

"In 10 years' time, if India's economy keeps growing at this rate, its better institutions will have more money and they will be powerful universities," Professor Ingleson said.

"We want to be there and to be a part of it. The US and the UK have invested much more in India than Australia has."

He said there was "tremendous research" being conducted in India. "Some of the basic sciences are very strong and complement our work."

The university is spending $150,000 a year on its Indian connection.

Reported in The Australian
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DISCLAIMER : Media releases are provided as is by the source mentioned and have not been edited or checked for accuracy. Any queries should be directed to the source of the article itself.

Tuesday

47 Malaysian Illegal Workers Removed From Australia



Forty-seven Malaysians located working illegally mainly in regional Victoria have been flown home, Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Senator Amanda Vanstone, announced today.

‘My department’s compliance staff located these people over the past six to eight weeks, the majority of them were found working on farms in the Goulburn Valley,’ Minister Vanstone said.

‘The group of 34 men and 13 women had been detained while arrangements were made for their departure as required by law.

‘The group was removed on a charter flight to Kuala Lumpur, avoiding the necessity of prolonged detention while commercial seats were sought.

‘Given the large number, charter removal was a cost-effective option.

‘The success of operations such as this should send a strong message that the Government does not tolerate people living and working illegally in this country.’

In the 2003-04 financial year the department located over 20,000 people who had overstayed their visas or breached their visa conditions.

The Minister reminded people working in Australia without permission that if they were here illegally, it is not a matter of if, but when they would be caught.

People with information on illegal workers or visa overstayers should call the Immigration Dob-In Line on 1800 009 623.

Source - DIMIA Media Release

DISCLAIMER : Media releases are provided as is by the source mentioned and have not been edited or checked for accuracy. Any queries should be directed to the source of the article itself.