Monday, September 05, 2011

Foundation Studies Program "sells" entry to University of Adelaide for able students

All the whining below about money should not obscure the fact that this is probably a good way of getting kids into university who are more suitable for it. Public examinations are not terribly good predictors of success at university.

My son did something similar, though no payment was involved. The University of Qld. offered bright kids in their final High School year the chance of doing a university subject in that same year -- as well as their normal High school studies. Few apply as it sounds very challenging. My son was the only one in his school who took up the offer. But he did well in all his studies at both levels so was therefore of course a shoo-in to his preferred course at the State's most highly esteemed university

STUDENTS who pay $7800 can secure direct entry into all of the University of Adelaide's bachelor degrees based on their Year 11 results.

Students who complete the university's Foundation Studies Program, dubbed "uni without Year 12", offered through Eynesbury College, receive assured direct entry into all of its bachelor degrees.

Parent and student groups have questioned the program's fairness, criticising a system they say effectively allows students to buy their way into university. Entry into the program requires only successful completion of Year 11.

The flyer promoting the program states: "Students offered a place in the FSP will no longer have to compete with thousands of others as they are given a conditional offer of admission to their preferred Bachelor degree at the University. This means no SACE and no SATAC application."

Most South Australian Year 12 students who apply for university must complete their SA Certificate of Education and receive an Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank that provides a comparison to students who have completed different subject combinations.

Using their ATAR, students apply for a place in their preferred undergraduate course through the SA Tertiary Admissions Centre, competing for a place based on merit.

Eynesbury College (International) director and principal Peter Millen said that upon application, students would be assessed on their ability to successfully complete the program, which would include the prerequisite subjects the student needed depending on their chosen degree.

Mr Millen said successful applicants would receive an offer from the University of Adelaide that would specify a mark out of 500 they must achieve to maintain their place. "It's a completely separate program, they are scored out of 500 so, if for example engineering was 380, they would have to complete the program, get 380 and have the right prerequisites," he said.

The university sets the score on a degree-by-degree basis with "similar relativities" as ATAR scores, a spokeswoman said, however, she was not able to provide examples.

University of Adelaide major projects and development director Lynne Broadbridge said offering the foundation program for domestic students was about the need to have flexible pathways and reduce the traditional barriers to university.

"Opening our foundation program offered through Eynesbury College, which has proven successful for international students since 1994, is a logical step to encourage local students to follow the aspirations to higher education," she said.

SA Association of School Parent Clubs president Jenice Zerna said it was not fair that some students would effectively be able to pay for their university place. "We are concerned that students are being provided with a university place based on how much money they or their parents have," she said.

National Union of Students president Jesse Marshall said the program appeared to be a way to get a down payment from students from wealthy backgrounds in return for guaranteed access to its programs. "The Federal Government levelled the playing field when it abolished full-fee paying places," he said.

"This program appears to take us back to the days where if you have more money you can pay your way into university."


Australian universities judged among world's best

There is a lot of arbitrariness in these rankings but it is encouraging that Australian universities do well in several ranking systems. From what I have seen of overseas universities,I myself think Australia's "sandstone" universities are as good as any -- but I hold degrees from two of them so maybe I am a bit biased. I am pleased to see that where my son is currently studying did very well in the rankings. He himself is pleased with his programme there

FIVE Australian universities have been rated among the world's top 50 but the latest global university rankings show dramatic falls by institutions outside the Group of Eight, prompting concerns over the methodology of the list.

Eight Australian institutions made it into the top 100 - 23 are in the top 500 - in the QS World University Rankings, released today.

The outstanding result has been welcomed by sector leaders, despite the big slumps among universities outside the Go8.

Top of the local league was the Australian National University, ranked 26 in the world, followed by the University of Melbourne at 31. The world league was led by the University of Cambridge, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale University and the University of Oxford.

Australia's worst fall was registered by Flinders University, down 48 rankings to 299 globally. The University of Newcastle fell by 35, La Trobe University by 31 and Griffith University and the University of Tasmania by 23.

They were in a group of 13 whose rankings dropped, while nine institutions improved over past year.

The University of South Australia was up 25, Queensland University of Technology was up 22 and Curtin University and the University of Western Australia were both up 16.

Universities Australia chief executive Glenn Withers said: "To have something like 60 per cent of Australian universities in the top 500 shows the strength of our system by world standards, given there are some 16,000 institutions. (But) we need to maintain that strength.

"We are looking for the base funding review and the way the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency are going to operate to help us maintain that strength in the system."

Griffith University's deputy director, research policy, and QS board member Tony Sheil, said the rankings were "capturing more up-and-coming universities, especially from the fast-growing economies like China, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea".

This was in contrast to one of its rivals, the Academic Ranking of World Universities, previously known as the Shanghai Jiao Tong, whose methodology is heavily weighted towards research performance and tends to favour older universities.

"The good news for Australia is that it performs very well on both rankings - our universities conform to what some call the global university model," Mr Sheil said.

"(However) QS does need to have a closer look at the data accuracy contained in several indicators."

He said it was not credible that several middle-ranked Australian universities outdid the California Institute of Technology for employer reputation.

The QS methodology allocates a 40 per cent weighting for academic reputation, gauged via a worldwide questionnaire, 10 per cent for reputation among employers, 20 per cent for student-to-staff ratio, 20 for citations per academic staff member, and 5 per cent each for international staff and international students.

The area of traditional weakness for Australia in the QS rankings is student-to-staff ratios. "Once again, it's disappointing to see Australia falling behind in some of the student-to-staff ratios," executive director of the leading Group of Eight universities, Michael Gallagher said.

QS singled Melbourne out for comment. "In whichever evaluations you refer to in recent times, the QS World University Rankings by Subject, The Excellence in Research for Australia initiative, or the Shanghai rankings, Melbourne keeps getting stronger," QS vice-president John Molony said.

Mr Gallagher agreed that while "there are different perspectives and flaws in all rankings systems, the consistent message is that they reinforce different groupings, especially the top tier".

The field of global rankings for universities is intensely competitive. QS claims to be the most extensive of its kind, evaluating more than 700 universities.


Thoroughly reprehensible speech

The fashion industry has a lot to answer for
A size eight teenage model said being bullied for being too fat on Australia's Next Top Model sent a dangerous message to vulnerable young viewers. Alissandra Moone, 18, who at 57kg [125lb] is considered underweight on the Australian body mass index, was "stunned" when her size became an issue on Foxtel's top-rating show.

Judge Alex Perry has openly criticised Moone's body, likening it to "overstuffed luggage", [I'd like to smash that guy in his insulting mouth and I would be pleased if somebody did] and the clash is set to reach a head on tonight's episode.

"It's a very bad message to be sending to young girls who watch the show," Moone said yesterday. "It's harsh. It's stupid. And it's out of touch. I understand it's a reality of the (modelling) industry but this is a TV show and they should have a responsibility to censor that kind of thing.

The average dress size for most Aussie women is a 12 to 14, while the most recent Mission Australia youth survey showed body image was the most serious concern facing young people between 11 and 24 -- above bullying, drugs and family conflict.

The critique of Moone's size is in stark contrast to Melbourne Spring Fashion Week organisers' decision this year to only use models with a healthy BMI. Models will be vetted by casting agents to ensure they are not too thin before they are signed up.


I know very little about the fashion industry but I understand that homosexuals are prominent in it and I have often heard the comment that they want women to look like boys. The effect however is to disparage normal women so I think what we should all do is to disparage the fashion industry to all who will listen

The insulting mouth above is not homosexual though he gives the impression that he is. He is also known for rough language. I actually applaud rough language under some circumstance but not when it is so cruelly and inaccurately addressed.

Bipartisan deal to help cope with illegal immigration to Australia?

THE Coalition has offered to work with the Gillard government to change the Migration Act to allow offshore processing of asylum-seekers, after it was thrown into doubt by the High Court.

The move came after the Solicitor-General today produced new legal advice saying it may be impossible to resurrect the Howard government's asylum-seeker detention centres in Papua New Guinea and Nauru under current laws.

Solicitor-General Stephen Gageler has given the government written advice confirming that the High Court's decision last week to scuttle the controversial Malaysian people swap deal has far-reaching implications for all offshore processing.

Mr Gageler and two other senior counsel, Stephen Lloyd and Geoffrey Kennett, say they “do not have reasonable confidence” that the government could legally send asylum-seekers to Papua New Guinea and Nauru as a result of the judgment.

The lawyers say Nauru's decision to ratify the UN Refugee Convention this year “raises the possibility” that a government could use its power to send asylum-seekers to Nauru in the future, but only if it could satisfy a court there were appropriate protections in place.

“These are complex issues of fact and degree requiring detailed assessment and analysis,” the advice reads.

The Gillard government has been considering reopening the former Howard-era detention centre on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea, while Tony Abbott's policy is to reopen the “Pacific Solution” detention centre on Nauru.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said the advice confirmed there were significant doubts about both PNG and Nauru and that the government needed to work through the options, one of which could be amending the Migration Act.

“Clearly the High Court has interpreted the Migration Act in this way and it would be open to the parliament to change the Migration Act to deal with how the High Court has interpreted it and that's one of the options that would be available.”

Mr Abbott said he did not want the government to use the High Court's decision as an excuse to drop offshore processing.

“If the government wants to put offshore processing beyond legal doubt by amending the Migration Act, the Coalition's prepared to work with the government to bring that about,” he told reporters in Sydney.

Mr Abbott maintained his position that sending asylum-seekers to Nauru is a viable option. “Nauru's legal system is essentially the same as Australia's,” he said. “So any suggestion that there is some problem with the Nauruan legal system and the way people are treated in Nauru is just utterly implausible.”

Coalition legal affairs spokesman George Brandis also said the new legal advice did not completely rule out offshore processing.

He said he had spoken with Nauruan Justice Minister Mathew Batsuia, who affirmed his government was prepared to enact domestic laws to ensure his country was compliant with the court's verdict.

“Given that the Nauruan government is prepared to take those steps, it now remains for the Australian government to demonstrate that it has the political will to make the Nauruan solution effective,” Senator Brandis said in a statement.

However Mr Bowen said the Coalition also needed to consider the legal advice and think again. “Mr Abbott needs to move beyond his Nauru dream world and simplistic solutions and admit that whichever way you cut it, offshore processing under the current law is no longer an easy option,” he said.

“Quite clearly under all the legal advice, if Mr Abbott wanted to go down the Nauru option he would need legislative change. He would need it on several bases.

“And what is very clear from the High Court judgment is you could not send unaccompanied minors in any workable way to Nauru or anywhere else. That's a significant change,” Mr Bowen said.

Under a deal first announced by Julia Gillard in May, the government had planned to send 800 asylum-seekers to Malaysia in exchange for 4000 already-processed refugees.

But the High Court's full bench ruled 6-1 that the Mr Bowen's declaration that Malaysia was an appropriate place to send asylum-seekers was invalid because the country is not legally bound to protect them. The ruling has thrown Labor's plans to try to halt the flow of asylum-seeker boats into disarray.

Mr Bowen today repeatedly refused to reveal whether he considered resigning as a result of the decision, or whether he offered his resignation to Ms Gillard. “Conversations between the Prime Minister and I are conversations between the Prime Minister and I and that's how they'll remain,” he told the ABC. “I'm not going to run away from my responsibility just because the going gets a bit tough.”

Former prime minister John Howard said Ms Gillard had succeeded in “antagonising everybody” on asylum-seekers. “The real culprit though, of course, was Kevin Rudd,” he told Network Ten. “Kevin Rudd was the prime minister who dismantled the Howard government policy which had stopped the boats coming.”


Adverse public opinion polls put Australia's faltering Leftist government under huge pressure over illegals

JULIA Gillard will be forced to choose between negotiating with Tony Abbott or giving ground to people-smugglers as a new survey shows a dramatic collapse in public approval of Labor's management of asylum-seekers.

A Newspoll for The Australian today found 78 per cent of respondents rated Labor's handling of the issue as "bad" - a significant increase on the 53 per cent recorded by Newspoll in November 2009.

Only 12 per cent of those surveyed believed the Government was doing a "good" job on asylum-seekers, barely half the 31 per cent in November 2009. And only 22 per cent of Labor supporters backed the Government's handling of the issue.

Government sources said the Prime Minister was unlikely to announce a new asylum seeker policy for weeks, as Labor scrambles to work out a solution and braces for more boats to arrive, the Courier-Mail reported.

The Government's shaky border protection policy was dealt another blow yesterday after legal advisers warned it may have to abandon offshore processing of asylum seekers entirely.

Solicitor-general Stephen Gageler warned the Federal Government it faces major legal difficulties in re-opening the former "Pacific Solution" immigration detention centres in Nauru and PNG's Manus Island after the High Court scuttled plans to send 800 asylum seekers to Malaysia.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said Labor needed time to work out a new way to stop people smuggling. "I've said, if you like 'time out' for a moment," Mr Bowen said. "Let's go back, have everything on the table and consider the options."

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott offered to support the Government to get around the ruling by changing legislation as long as this re-opened the centre on Nauru, re-introduced temporary protection visas and allowed the navy to turn boats around at sea. "If the Government wants to put offshore processing beyond legal doubt by amending the Migration Act, the Coalition is prepared to work with the government to bring that about," Mr Abbott said. "We don't want the Government to use the High Court's decision as an excuse to drop offshore processing."

Mr Bowen said he would not negotiate with Mr Abbott if the Opposition insisted on the outcome and warned the High Court decision could lead to more asylum seeker boats heading to Australia.

But Ms Gillard faces growing pressure from the Left of her party and the Greens to abandon offshore processing entirely.

Labor backbenchers warned Ms Gillard not to announce another policy before discussing options with the party's caucus, which will meet again when parliament resumes next week.

"She should not underestimate the level of disquiet in the caucus," one Labor backbencher said.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Redistribution of wealth full speed ahead.