The University of Queensland has announced a comprehensive Integrity and Accountability Reform Program in the wake of last year’s allegations of misconduct and nepotism.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said the move will strengthen the University’s overall governance framework.

“A review of key areas of the University has been underway since the very serious admission irregularity emerged last year,” Professor Terry said. 

A new, broad-based international ranking of global universities has found Australian institutions are some of the world’s most productive, scoring 8th on the ranking.

The Productivity Commission (PC) has published a report examining the impact of the reforms implemented by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).

The Federal Government has announced it will postpone the development of the Australian Baccalaureate for two years to save expenditure of $8.5 million over three years.

The Federal Budget has cut funding to the Digital Education Revolution (DER) project pool in 2011‑12 to to provide savings of $24.4 million.

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) has released the draft of the Senior Secondary Curriculum, marking the first national curriculum for all Year 11 and 12 students for English, Mathematics, Science and History.

The Government has announced it will postpone implementation of the National Trade Cadetships (NTC) initiative by one year to 2013-14, saving revenues of $12.5 million over two years from 2011-2012.

The Federal Budget has cut the reward payments payable to primary and secondary schools under the proposed Reward for School Improvement program.

The Federal Government has passed its Schoolkids Bonus through Senate, despite the Federal Opposition voting against the move.

The Australian Government has announced it will amalgamate the National School Drug Education Strategy, and the Values Education and Values Drugs programs into one program to create the Student Resilience and Wellbeing Program, creating savings of $10.3 million over four years.

The Teach Next Program has been modified to provide additional support to facilitate involvement in the program while at the same time cutting the number of placement offers expected to be secured for 2012. The changes will result in savings of $2.0 million over five years.

The Federal Budget has allocated $14.3 million over three years to expand the Teach Remote Program, an initiative of the National Alliance of Remote Indigenous Schools (NARIS).

Uiversities Australia has commended Minister Evans and the Government for its decision not to step back from its program of higher education reform, even under difficult fiscal circumstances.

"This is a strong budget for the university sector," Universities Australia Chief Executive, Belinda Robinson, said.

"Over the past few years the Government has achieved a number of very significant outcomes in higher education. These include: indexation of base funding, streamlined visa processing for international students, the introduction of the demand-driven system, an increase in infrastructure investment, and funding to meet the indirect costs of research.

"These reforms have played a key role in renewing universities capacity to compete in the Asian century.

"That there has been no rewind, no back-sliding on its important teaching, learning and research program in a very tough budget environment is testament to the priority the Government continues to place on the role universities play in Australia's future prosperity.

"Universities are fundamental in underpinning productivity growth, innovation, economic security and the nation's long-term well-being.

"Universities Australia welcomes the additional $23.4 million to support those from disadvantaged backgrounds and students needing additional preparation. This support is vital for such students to succeed at university," Ms Robinson said.
The Government has announced the end to the upfront HECS discount to the undergraduate students enrolled in maths and science.

"Universities Australia accepts that this high cost measure was not particularly effective at encouraging students to study maths and science at university. Nor did it address the very real need to focus the attention on schools, where student study choices are made, and teaching, where students get their inspiration.

"The Government's announcement in response to the report released tonight by the Chief Scientist of $54 million to support the teaching of maths and science at schools, and maths and science teacher education, is strongly supported to address the urgent need to lift the proportion of Australia's workforce educated in maths, science and engineering.

"The Chief Scientist's recommendation for a Flagship Program, in Mathematics and Science Teacher Education, has significant merit and we note that the Government will be giving it serious consideration as part of its response to the Base Funding Review.

Ms Robinson also introduced a timely reminder that "there remains some important un-finished business on the Government's higher education reform agenda".

"Momentum needs to be maintained particularly in relation to settling a sustainable long-term investment platform for research infrastructure and addressing the Government's review of base-funding that recommended an increase in the level of public investment in universities on a per student basis.

"Universities Australia welcomes the Minister's acknowledgement of this unfinished business and his stated intention to work closely with Universities Australia in progressing this critical work."

The Federal Budget has included a $54 million package to improve standards of science and maths teaching in Australian schools.

Funding for the participation component of the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP) has been cut by $68.2 million over four years from 1 January 2013. As a result, the average annual funding rate per student will fall from $1,800 to $1,400 in 2012.

Funding for the International Education and Training Program has been cut by $10 million over four years in the Australian Governments 2012-13 Budget.

Funding of $4.8 million over four years has been provided through the Federal Budget  to support adult education providers and community organisations to expand the delivery of educational and training courses tailored to the needs of senior Australians (aged 60 and above).

The Australian Government will provide $50.3 million over four years to help ensure the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) is adequately resourced.

The Australian Government will provide $18.1 million over four years for the establishment of three Australian Skills Centres of Excellence (ASCE) to support innovative production processes and teaching and learning methods in the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector.

State high school students will learn engineering in Years 8-12 and be encouraged to consider engineering as a future career under a new teaching program being developed by The University of Western Australia and Governor Stirling Senior High School.

The Federal Government has announced $38.8 billion in spending over the next four years to support the move to lift the cap on student places at universities.

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