If kids come to educators and teachers from strong, healthy, functioning families, it makes our job easier. If they do not come to us from strong, healthy, functioning families, it makes our job more important.

— Barbara Colorose

Covid-19 has had a significant impact not only in Australia but around the world. The news has been full of actions, reactions, impacts and more. We have tried to reflect events with our news headlines section each week and will continue as long as required. Our emphasis will always be on the education sector rather than trying to cover areas in which others have far greater expertise.

While there has been information provided by authorities, both political and medical, it is also possible to highlight other commentary/suggestions which are available on social media. Your are urged to look for sites that have factual and authoritative information and dismiss those which do not fall into this category.

A few priority sites are listed here : Coronavirus [COVID-19] [Department of Education, Skills and Employment], Coronavirus [COVID-19] Health Alert [Australian Government Department of Health], COVID-19 [Coronavirus] and the Australian border [Department of Home Affairs], Media Centre [Prime Minister of Australia] [select relevant pronouncements]. You may also find others of value, with a clear grasp of current facts, relevant science and practical details being implemented.

Like all areas of life, education has been impacted, in many cases quite severely. The long term effects may have a greater impact than the current effect. At this stage, perhaps the greatest impact has been with international students and the tertiary education sector. It has meant many adjustments and even major changes [financial, student numbers now and in the future, teaching methodology, ...], some of which may have long lasting affects. Side issues stemming from a number of these are still to be fully realised.

Schools have now either closed until the end of Term 1 [e.g. Tasmania, Victoria] or have not officially closed [e.g. NSW, Western Australia] but families have been told ‘parents can choose to keep their children at home’. What happens when Term 2 is due to start will only be found as we get closer to that date. Online learning has been commenced in a number of schools and work is being done on this approach by a number of education departments.

Early childhood is also an area facing significant difficulties. These centres are generally still open and a package has been specifically developed to support them with assistance for both centres and parents. A number of sites direct information specifically for this sector. They include ECA COVID-19 response and Resources for ECEC decision makers on COVID-19 responses [The Sector]. School matters should be looked at via Education Departments or specific private schools or associations.

The Higher Education sector has been facing difficulties from this situation for almost all of this year. Emphasis has been given to the impact on universities, but English language colleges [e.g. see here] and vocational education have also been impacted heavily. There are genuine fears about the viability of some of these areas [see headline section for examples of this]. Online learning has really become an important process. One continuous, reliable source of what is happening in the sector as a result of the virus’ impact is Campus Morning Mail. Most universities, as well as university bodies, [e.g. Universities Australia] also provide regular updates.

Other sites will provide information about life in general, the economy, decisions affecting our everyday life and more. Our only recommendation, as above, would be to choose carefully and only listen to those who are genuinely expert about whatever the decision or action is.

One result of Covid-19 has been the impact on gatherings such as conferences. You will note on the Conferences pages [as of 1 April] we have begun to include information regarding postponements, cancellations, transfer to online presentations, etc.. These are for those about which we are aware. We will expand this as much as possible as we become aware of them and endeavour to be as accurate as possible about what has been decided with regard to each. Any assistance in this area would be appreciated.

We indicated earlier that we would be looking at a complete review of the Scholarship pages. This has now been completed and they are now online. We retained worthwhile inclusions but added links we felt could also assist you in this area. There are now more than twice as many as before. Some re-arrangement of the listings has also been made. We hope it is now easier to find what you are looking for. We will begin work on the Teacher Employment pages shortly and will notify you once these have been completed. Other pages will follow.

On a more mundane note, we now have only one email, as indicated on the Contact Us page. This is . Please be sure to use this if you need to contact us.

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There is an unending supply of documents being produced about all aspects of education both here and overseas. It is difficult at times to select only a few each month [‘Life wasn’t meant to be easy’]. Several recent items listed below are felt to warrant at least a brief mention. Many are from early 2020, others from the second half of 2019, so are really current. See what you think about each and whether you agree or not. Most are Australian in origin. Follow links that pique your particular interest.

Developing a New Vision for Post-Secondary Education : Ideas for Government

‘This collection emerged from a series of three public policy discussions organised by the Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne from June to August in 2019. The aim of the policy discussions – and the following written contributions based directly on the panellists’ inputs – is to generate new ideas drawing on the latest evidence, challenge conventional thinking and offer practical steps that ministers could take in the next few years towards a longer term, comprehensive vision for post-secondary education’.

Education for the cyber age

‘Each time a new cybersecurity strategy or initiative is released, there is a section reserved for people and training – the upcoming Australian cybersecurity strategy is almost certainly going to be no exception. Just as each agrees more people should be doing cybersecurity, each will also agree that part of the solution will be more education not simply for people to staff cybersecurity operations centres. Education for boards, education for seniors, education for companies’ supply chains, and education for kids in schools are also needed’.

Fit for purpose ? Reforming tertiary education in Australia - a Discussion Paper

‘What does Bruce Mackenzie’s paper propose ? The paper notes the need for a tertiary education system that is “accessible, inclusive, efficient, effective and forward looking” to cope with the demands placed on it by Industry 4.0 and other changes and pressures both short and longer term. A short supplementary paper provides a summary of the major points of the discussion paper’. How much do you agree with what is suggested and how does this compare with the suggestions made in the first article above which also looks at the tertiary sector ?

Indigenous Strategy Annual Report - January 2020

‘The Universities Australia Indigenous Strategy 2017- 20 brings all 39 member universities together to advance Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation and success in higher education. This is the second annual report on progress achieved under the UA strategy since the first Universities Australia Indigenous strategy annual report launch in March 2017. This report publishes updated data and examples of progress on commitments made by universities under the UA strategy. It informs broader policy considerations of Indigenous higher education. It is also a regular prompt for important discussions in institutions and as a sector, including with our partner stakeholders, to chart progress and further action’. Read about achievements and projected actions.

The Profession At Risk . . .

Trends in Standards for admission to Teaching Degrees. ‘This report was commissioned by the NSW Teachers Federation and published in February 2020. This report provides a deep analysis of the changing standards seen in Australian initial teacher education to inform long-term strategic planning so that declines can be stemmed, and negative dynamics turned around. In addition, it considers research on the factors contributing to professional status that can help in that task’. Good background material provided with logical, well thought out conclusions.

Top teachers : sharing expertise to improve teaching

In the report’s Overview it states ‘Australia is not using its best teachers well. This report describes a new career path for top teachers that would make them responsible for leading professional learning and improving the teaching of the whole workforce. Over time it would transform school education, further professionalise teaching, and lead to students gaining about 18 months extra learning by age 15’. Well worth reading, while a good starting point might be the publication page which has an introduction and links to the report [above], technical supplement, chart pack, podcast and recording.

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