Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Education in the 2019/2020 Australian Federal Budget

Some higher education items from the https://www.budget.gov.au/:
  1. $3.9B cut from the Education Investment Fund: The EIF was established in 2008 to "transform Australian tertiary education and research", but is was never clear how. The money will instead be spent on natural disaster recovery.Vocational Education and Training"
  2. Scholarships for students at regional campuses: $93.7M over four years from 2019-20. It sould be noted this applies to universities, and vocational education. Also it is for regional campuses, so these could be branches of capital city university, or commercial VET providers. With education now being provided primarily via the Internet, a "campus" can be a small shopfront. 
  3. Unique Student Identifier (USI): $18.3 million over four years for a centralised digital training record, for both VET and university students. The USI currently applies only to the VET sector. The Australian Government is likely to find universities less cooperative with the USI than the VET sector. Worryingly, when I just tried the USI website, it was not responding.
  4. Additional Identified Skills Shortage Payment: 80,000 additional apprentices over five years, with employers eligible for $4,000 incentive payment, and apprentices  $2,000 "at key milestones".
  5. Pilot Skills Organisations: $41.7 million over four years for "industry partnerships to trial new ways to update and develop vocational education qualifications", in human services care and digital technologies, and cyber security. Perhaps this is referring to "micro-credentials"?
  6. National Careers Institute (NCI): $42.4 million over four years to raise the profile of the VET sector, and  a "single web portal, informed by the latest research". 
  7. Training Hubs:  $50.6M for ten hubs to provide job opportunities for young people and "strengthen local economies".
  8. Higher Education Loan Program ─ partial cost recovery delay:  "The Government will delay the introduction of partial cost recovery arrangements for
    the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) to provide additional time for the sector to prepare for the new arrangements. The new arrangements will now commence from 1 January 2020 instead of 1 January 2019. The measure is estimated to reduce revenue by $3.6 million over four years from 2018-19. "
  9. Extension of Temporary Graduate visa period for regional graduates: From November 2021, international students who complete a higher education in a regional area can can apply for an additional year's work visa. This is expected to provide  $14.0M.
  10. Online Safety Grants Program:  $10.0M over four years for online safety education for children. This funding is only for non-government organisations.
  11. Harry Butler Environmental Education Centre:  $25.0M to Murdoch University to "grow understanding of the positive relationship between economic development and environmental sustainability".
  12. Expanding Questacon’s Education Outreach:  $15.1M to expand Questacon’s education and outreach activities.
  13. Improving STEM Gender Equity in Australia: $3.4M to fund the Science in Australia Gender
    Equity program for three years; and "a digital content National Awareness Raising Initiative, led by the Women in STEM Ambassador."
  14. Making Innovation Games National: $3.6M to "bring together small and medium businesses and students to solve real-life, practical business issues".
  15. Adelaide Space Discovery Centre: $6.0M to "to provide education and mission simulation to support training"
  16. Indigenous students: $276.5M to "support to undertake and complete study to help close the gap in
    education outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students
  17. Extinguish Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) debt for teachers in very remote locations: $70.6M.

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