Education

Staff at the University of New South Wales are in a protracted dispute with a notoriously right-wing and anti-union administration, which is refusing to negotiate a new and fair collective agreement. Read more on the dispute here. To send message of support, or to donate to hardship fund to assist the more than 80 UNSW staff who have been stood down without pay by the administration in retaliation for taking legal industrial action, visit the National Tertiary Education Union UNSW webpage.
Read letters of support to UNSW staff. On July 7, members of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) started receiving letters from the university that said they had been stood down without pay for imposing a ban on the recording and transmission of student results to the university. The union imposed the bans after negotiations with university representatives failed to make progress on improving job security, pay and other conditions for UNSW staff.
A nearly two-month-long student strike that shut down all 11 campuses of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) ended in a decisive victory for the students. The students’ inspiring unity, determination and creativity serve as a magnificent example of how to fight and win in the face of neoliberal attempts to balance budgets in this era of global austerity. The strike began April 21 as a 48-hour stoppage at UPR’s main campus of Rio Piedras to protest US$100 million in budget cuts, a sharp increase in student fees and the administration’s unwillingness to negotiate with student activists.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard is seeking to differentiate herself from ousted Kevin Rudd to show her promotion to PM is more than an attempt to re-badge a political party in crisis. In this context, it is worth looking at her record in government. This is a look at the changes to and proposals for higher education launched by Gillard as education minister in Transforming Australia’s Higher Education System, the government’s proposed 10-year agenda for reforming the nation’s higher education system.
National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) members at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) began industrial action on June 30 to pressure management to reach agreement with the union on a range of claims. They want reinstatement of job security protections for contract research staff; improved conditions for casual and fixed-term staff; Indigenous employment targets and an increase in paid parental leave from 26 to 36 weeks.
New World of Indigenous Resistance By Noam Chomsky and voices from North, South, and Central America City Lights Open Media, 2010, 300 pages Review by Mat Ward This book bills itself as a “virtual hemispheric conversation” and claims to be the first book of its kind. It is certainly an eye-opener.
On June 5, New South Wales Teachers Federation state council voted to initiate a “Stop the Privatisation” forum to organise against the state government’s privatisation plans for the public sector. The forum will invite participation from the Public Sector Association (PSA), Fire Brigade Employees Union (FBEU) and other public sector unions. After the forum, the federation will initiate a public sector delegates meeting to discuss and organise a public sector-wide response to the privatisation agenda.
Organisers are expecting about 400 people to descend on Adelaide for the Students of Sustainability (SoS) conference over July 4 – 8. The conference is held annually for students and activists involved in environment and social justice movements. Over the four days, workshops will be held on topics as diverse as climate change, guerrilla gardening, Indigenous rights, campaigning for renewable energy on campus and many more. SoS gives participants the confidence, practical skills and motivation needed to campaign for a cleaner and healthier Earth.

An internationally renowned academic in the field of Islamic and Gender Studies, Dr Samar Habib (pictured), says pressure from management at the University of Western Sydney caused her to resign from her staff teaching position. Habib said she felt under intense pressure from the university while setting the course material for her compulsory first-year subject, Texts and Traditions. “There were constraints placed on me in terms of what texts I was able to include and who to teach with, and it became very difficult to exercise academic or creative control over my unit”, she said.

Cuba provides the best conditions for motherhood among developing countries, Save the Children's State of the World's Mothers 2010 report has found. The Times of India reported on May 5 that the report “examines 160 countries — 43 developed and 117 developing ones — and analyses the best and worst places to be a mother based on 10 factors such as the educational status, health, economic circumstances of the mothers, as well as the basic well-being of children”.
The campaign against league tables continued on May 11 with a protest organised by the Inner City Teachers Association (ICTA) of the NSW Teachers Federation. Fifty people rallied outside the office of NSW education minister Verity Firth. After the Australian Education Union federal executive’s last-minute decision to lift the ban on the National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy tests, the action showed the campaign against league tables, and the damage they do to school communities, will continue.
Statement from Resistance, socialist youth organisation. See also: Facebook indicates: students and staff oppose NAPLAN tests Teachers' union caves in on NAPLAN tests Resistance calls on high school students to boycott the NAPLAN tests next week. While the Australian Education Union (AEU) has backed down on their plan to not administer the tests, the government agreement with the AEU is a potentially empty gesture.
Thousands of anti-NAPLAN supporters outnumber solitary pro-NAPLAN person! Resistance, socialist youth organisation Despite the Australian Education Union dropping its boycott of NAPLAN testing, protest on the social networking site Facebook shows overwhelming opposition to the tests - from teachers & students alike. One group which has over a thousand supporters is calling on students to "strike" against the tests, which have been linked to the production of League tables to simplistically rank schools.
It had to happen eventually. Kevin Rudd's popularity has gone into decline, and the Labor party now trail the Liberals in the latest polls. According to a May 3 Essential Research poll, Rudd's approval rating has fallen to 46%, down from 71% a year ago. The Liberals lead Labor by 51% to 49% on a “two party preferred” basis according to polling by Newspoll published in the May 4 Australian.
On May 6, the federal executive of the Australian Education Union (AEU) caved in to the Labor government over the campaign against league tables and the National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) ban. As the May 11-13 dates for the NAPLAN tests approached, the dispute over the AEU ban on them heated up. Teachers said the tests could be used to produce school league tables. Australian Council of Trade Unions president Sharon Burrow facilitated discussions between the AEU executive and education minister Julia Gillard.
The Socialist Alliance released the following statement in response to the developments in the anti-league tables campaign. *** The federal executive of the Australian Education Union (AEU) resolved on April 12 to impose a ban on implementing National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests, after damaging league tables were published in newspapers, based on 2009 NAPLAN data. Socialist Alliance supports the principled stand against league tables taken by teachers.

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