•   
  •   

Australia Plan to boost international education sector targets student satisfaction

01:30  26 april  2021
01:30  26 april  2021 Source:   smh.com.au

Israeli air attacks target Gaza again after rocket attack

  Israeli air attacks target Gaza again after rocket attack Israel imposed a blockade of Gaza’s sea and land borders after Hamas seized control in 2007. The two sides have since fought three wars. A fragile truce has endured in recent years despite occasional flare-ups, with Palestinians firing rockets at Israel and the latter responding with air attacks on the coastal enclave.

University of Sydney education campus Anderson Stuart Building. © Getty University of Sydney education campus Anderson Stuart Building.

A federal government strategy to revive international education will focus on student satisfaction through surveys which experts warn may not improve quality and may risk lowering standards.

The government has released a discussion paper on the strategy which includes "consideration and engagement of the student perspectives" as an indicator to measure the success of its international education program.

Border closures have impeded recruitment efforts by Australian universities reliant on overseas students. Education Minister Alan Tudge released a consultation paper for a 10-year strategy earlier this month on how the sector can rebound from the pandemic.

5 things to know about the brand new US climate commitment

  5 things to know about the brand new US climate commitment It’s the most ambitious target to date, but it still may not be big enough to atone for our outsize emissions.The announcement came at the White House’s Earth Day summit on Thursday, where 40 world leaders met virtually to discuss and announce their new ambitions for curbing greenhouse gases.

Dr Gwilym Croucher, a senior lecturer in higher education policy and management at the University of Melbourne, said there was a limit to what student satisfaction surveys could achieve.

"It can be a clunky way to assess how students have experienced their course and the value it has provided to them," he said.

Higher education researcher Peter Hurley from Victoria University's Mitchell Institute agreed the scope of surveys were limited. "Student satisfaction is different to measuring the quality of learning, but having said that I think it is an important thing to do for international students," he said.

Andrew Norton, Professor in the Practice of Higher Education Policy at the Australian National University, said seeking feedback was reasonable depending on the questions.

4 winners and 4 losers from Biden’s climate leader summit

  4 winners and 4 losers from Biden’s climate leader summit Winner: Joe Biden. Loser: the coal industry.The Biden administration has an unequivocal message at the two-day Leaders Summit on Climate this week: America is back.

"If there is a very clear level of dissatisfaction, that probably is a problem even though you could raise question marks about whether any individual student has made a fair assessment of their own personal experience," he said.

All universities and higher education providers take part in the annual Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching surveys which report on student experiences. The latest snapshot provided earlier this year showed the results for international students were lower (63 per cent) than those for domestic students (70 per cent) when it came to the assessment of the quality of their educational experience.

Tertiary education consultant Claire Field said international student satisfaction was typically a few points below the level for domestic students.

"Keeping a clear focus on student satisfaction through this new strategy would be a very good thing, however government and the regulators will need to make sure academic standards are not compromised," she said.

New Zealand's vaccination program is built on Pfizer and a plan to take it slow

  New Zealand's vaccination program is built on Pfizer and a plan to take it slow All New Zealanders are likely to get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and that clarity has generated a lot of trust in the rollout, but as winter approaches there is anxiety in some vulnerable communities. At the Manurewa Marae in South Auckland, staff can administer 300 doses of the Pfizer drug each day.At the moment, about 100 whanau, or family, are taking up the offer. The clinic is the first of its kind. A marae is an important place for Maori and Pacific Islander people. It's like a community centre, but one that is steeped in cultural and religious significance.

"Too much emphasis on the KPIs [key performance indicator] could result in perverse incentives for institutions to pass more students to keep them happy, even where their work may not be up to the required standard.

"In the past, we've seen reports from academics feeling pressured to pass students. It would be a real shame if those pressures were exacerbated by a new international education strategy which tries to make sure students have a positive learning experience in Australia."

The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency, the sector's regulator, has also started requiring universities to measure and track satisfaction for different cohorts.

A spokeswoman for the federal Department of Education said a high-quality student experience was "important for Australia's international competitiveness as an international education partner and for the reputation of our educational institutions".

"We are confident that universities do not and would not lower academic standards in order to influence student experience. This would of course be detrimental to local and international students and damage the strong reputation of Australia's universities," the spokeswoman said.

David Riordan, a former head of international education at the NSW Department of Education and a former member of the federal government council for international education, said the new focus on student satisfaction was "a great step forward".

"If students return to their countries and have a poor experience then it is going to have an impact on the future of international education," he said. "I would be very sorry to hear that quality and standards were being compromised in the interests of keeping students happy and passing."

Victoria sets 'ambitious' targets to reach net zero emissions by 2050 .
The Victorian government commits to reducing emissions by 28 to 33 per cent by 2020 and by 45 to 50 per cent by 2030 to achieve the goal of net zero emissions by 2050. The plan includes $20 million to reduce emissions in the agricultural sector and $15.3m for a carbon farming program. Government operations, including schools, hospitals, and police stations, will be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025, an Australian first.

usr: 2
This is interesting!