Renowned financial journalist and media entrepreneur Alan Kohler has stepped down from his position of Chair of the Board of Melbourne University Publishing. Former Provost and Executive of the University of Melbourne, Professor Peter McPhee, will replace Mr Kohler.

Professor McPhee, who is a Professorial Fellow of the University, will assume the role after Mr Kohler announced he would not renew his contract.  

An alumnus of Melbourne, Professor McPhee has held a Personal Chair in History since 1993. His senior roles at the University have included Dean, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Academic Board President.

The South Australian Government has announced it will abolish the payroll tax exception for apprentices and trainees, while re-targeting support directly to registered group training organisations.

The Federal Government has announced ‘reward’ funding of more than $147 million for States and Territories for their progress in literacy and numeracy targets.

A $7 million centre, the INSPIRE Centre, designed to lead research and practice in the use of technology, has been launched at the University of Canberra.

The Victorian Government has announced the formation of the Gippsland Tertiary Education Council (GTEC) to champion better co-ordination between tertiary education providers and the future needs of industry in the Gippsland region.

The Federal Government has announced it will provide over $170 million in funding to state and territory governments in reward payments for their progress in national teacher quality reforms. The funding forms part of the $550 million Smarter Schools National Partnership for Improving Teacher Quality.

The Federal Government has announced $47 million in reward funding under the National Partnership on Youth Attainment and Transitions.

Mowbray College, a large private school in Melbourne’s outer west, has been put into voluntary liquidation after its $18 million debt dragged the school under. The college, with a student population of over 1,200, is unlikely to open its doors after the end of the current school term. 

The South Australian Government has announced it will invest $38.3  million for the construction of a dedicated centre of training excellence for the mining, engineering, defence and transport industries.

Monash University Council has extended the term of the current Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Edward Byrne until the end of 2017.


University Chancellor, and Chair of the Monash University Council, Dr Alan Finkel said that since commencing in mid-2009 Professor Byrne had introduced and led a range of significant initiatives and strategies that had strengthened and advanced Monash University both nationally and internationally.


“Perhaps the most recent example of his record of success is the establishment of the Southeast University-Monash University Joint Graduate School in Suzhou, China. The finalisation of the agreement with the Chinese Government in April marked the first time an Australian university has been granted a licence to operate in China.”


Under Professor Byrne’s guidance the University cemented in February a first-of-its-kind alliance with the University of Warwick. The partnership aims to produce global graduates, and will allow the universities to jointly undertake research that will address problems that have proved too big for any one institution to address.


Professor Byrne was a founding director of the Melbourne Neuromuscular Research Unit and the Centre for Neuroscience in 1993. He was made Professor of Experimental Neurology at the University of Melbourne in 2001. He first came to Monash University as the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, a role he held from 2003 until 2007.

Professor Byrne was then appointed the Vice Provost (Health) at University College London. He held that position until he became Monash University’s eighth Vice-Chancellor in 2009.

The Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb has released his Health of Australian Science report, providing an overview of Australia's science system in schools and universities, through to research sectors and industry.

The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) has announced it will canvass over 100,000 students to survey their experiences with TAFE institutes, private training providers or adult and community education providers.

The Federal Government has warned against the ‘savage’ cuts announced in Victoria’s State Budget. Federal Minister for Skills, Senator Chris Evans, convened an emergency meeting with the state’s TAFE directors to discuss the cuts.

The Federal Government has continued the roll out of its National School Chaplaincy and Student Welfare Program after Minister for School Education Peter Garrett announced 1000 new schools to take part in the program.

The South Australian Government has passed its TAFE SA Statutory Authority Bill through the state’s House of Assembly, a major step in the state’s Skills for All reform.

The South Australian Government has announced Peter Nolan as the newly appointed Director of the Sustainable Industries Education Centre (SIEC).

The Federal Government has announced an extra $37 million in funding for Victorian government schools to further develop access and classroom support for students with disabilities.

The Federal Government has outlined further reform under the Empowering Local Schools initiative, with schools able to share teachers and principals given a greater say in financial management and staff selection.

The Federal Government has released a new assessment tool and announced a new team of trained assessors to help childhood educators get better qualifications faster.

A concerning gender-gap exists in career aspirations among Australian youth across science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, a new study has found.

The study, published in Developmental Psychology last month, was the first to compare participation and related occupational planning for STEM careers among senior high-school boys and girls from different country contexts.

Led by Associate Professor Helen Watt from Monash University’s Faculty of Education, researchers cross-examined data from Australia, Canada and the US, finding significant gender differences only among Australian youth in mathematics-related career aspirations, with fewer girls aspiring to maths-related careers than boys.

The gender-gap was attributed to the greater and earlier degrees of choice Australian adolescents have to specialise in their school studies, than in the North American curriculum.

Associate Professor Watt referred to the ‘leaky pipeline’ where students drop out of advanced mathematics along various points of their educational trajectory as concerning.

“The leaky STEM pipeline has become a major area of concern in terms of economic growth in Western countries, particularly if Australia is to compete on the international platform,” Associate Professor Watt said.

“These findings increase our understanding of when and why girls ‘leak’ from the mathematics pipeline in an effort to address the issue in schools.”

The findings challenge current conceptions that girls and women opt away from high-prestige mathematical occupations.

For girls who did aspire to mathematics-related careers, it was found their planned careers were of equal status to those planned by boys.

An important element of the study was examining whether the ‘leaky pipeline’ would have a ‘glass ceiling’. That is, whether girls aspiring to mathematical fields of career would not plan on high-prestige jobs.

“This was not the case and girls were found to plan equally prestigious careers as boys,” Associate Professor Watt said.

“The gender gap in STEM-related career aspirations should be addressed by nurturing secondary students’ interest and demonstrating how maths and science can be useful in the careers girls are most attracted to.

“The relatively early specialisation in secondary school course selections also needs careful thought, timely as the new national curriculum is under consideration.”

Associate Professor Watt presented the findings as an invited address at the Biennial Gender Development Research Conference in San Francisco last month and has actively researched this field for the past 20 years, recently securing a prestigious ARC grant and five-year Fellowship.

The Tasmanian Industrial Commission has announced a final decision for the state to move to a four-term school year system.

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