Britain: Goldman Sachs gives huge bonuses “Bankers were accused of ‘sticking two fingers up to austerity Britain’,” the British Guardian reported on January 19, “after it was revealed that [Wall Street bank] Goldman Sachs had handed its staff a £10bn payday as new figures showed unemployment among Britain's young people had hit its highest level since modern records began”. The article said data from the Office for National Statistics showed that one in five people under 25 were out of work by the end of November last year — a total of 951,000 people.
Fifty people attended the Public School Dreams forum, hosted by the Inner City Teachers Association (ICTA) on November 16. In attendance were students, parents, teachers and principals from 16 inner-city schools, Leichhardt Greens mayor Jamie Parker and NSW Greens upper house member John Kaye. Students from Darlington Public School opened the forum with two songs. School communities at the forum were encouraged to submit comments to the federal government’s Review of Funding for Schooling.
The Venezuelan government has begun distributing the first of 350,000 portable Canaima laptop computers to be provided to public elementary school children by the end of the year, Venezuelanalysis.com said on November 17. Education minister Jennifer Gil said: “The Canaima Plan is a milestone and a technological innovation. It allows us to keep deepening our integral and massive education system that does not involve just students, but the entire family environment, parents, representatives and teachers.”
The Australian National University’s (ANU) sexuality department not only provides an invaluable support service to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer students on campus (LGBTIQ), it is also unashamedly political. For example, it has thrown its weight behind the campaign for equal marriage rights. So perhaps it is not surprising that the department has been challenged by homophobia on campus. In May during Pride Week, 500 posters were ripped down.
In what Sky News described as one of the largest demonstrations to hit London streets in decades, tens of thousands of students, teachers, staff members and their supporters rallied on November 10 in opposition to the new Conservative-led government’s plan for tuition increases and cutbacks at Britain’s colleges. Organised by the National Union of Students (NUS) and the University and College Union (UCU), the demonstration drew students from across the country for a march through central London, during which students occupied the Conservative Party headquarters.
Rome’s Sapienza University is one of Italy’s most prestigious universities and Europe’s biggest with more than 140,000 enrolled students. But this northern autumn, despite the cold weather outside, Sapienza University — like many others in Italy — is at boiling point. The heat is in response to funding cuts to Italy’s public education system. Further cuts are in store if the university reform package proposed by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right government is passed.
About 25,000 students took to the streets of Dublin on November 3 in protest at plans to increase college registration fees, MorningStarOnline.co.uk said. Many protesters wore T-shirts calling for “Education, not emigration”, referring to a recent surge of young people leaving Ireland with its double-digit unemployment for opportunities abroad, from Canada to Australia.
The first stage of the national school curriculum is scheduled to begin in 2011, and not many people are happy about it. The idea of a national curriculum was initially raised by the Hawke Labor government in the late 1980s, and later echoed by Coalition prime minister John Howard.
The campaign against savage cuts to public services in the recent South Australian budget is gaining momentum. More than 10,000 unionists rallied in Victoria Square on October 26 and marched through lunchtime crowds to Parliament House. Nurses, prison officers and firefighters are among the many sectors angry at the cuts, which will cost up to 4000 jobs and affect vital services. The following day, hundreds protested at Parliament House against cuts of $850,000 to the health budget, which threaten the viability of country hospitals at Keith, Moonta and Ardrossan.
Out-of-favour Manchester United star Wayne Rooney must look in the papers every morning and think: “How does [Liberal Democrat MP and business secretary in the Tory-Lib Dem coalition] Vince Cable get away with it? “Just like me, a year ago he was a national hero, the embodiment of hope, and now he’s a bumbling fool and revealed as a cheat. But he's allowed to carry on as he pleases and isn’t even substituted. “I want a transfer to the Liberal Democrats.”
A survey of 8800 Australian teenagers, carried out over 10 years by La Trobe University, has found that the number of young people having sex has risen. The proportion of sexually active year 12 women who reported having had sex with three or more partners in the previous year more than doubled to 27% in the decade to 2008. Meanwhile, the NSW health department said in September that sexually transmitted infections (STIs), particularly chlamydia, were on the rise.
On October 21, 70 local parents and supporters filled Moreland Concert Hall to hear state election candidates from the Pascoe Vale and Brunswick electorates speak on the issue of a high school for Coburg. The meeting was organised by the campaign group High School for Coburg. HSC was established about two years ago by a group of parents who were concerned that there was no local high school for their children to attend.
In the following article Margarita Windisch explains why she is running as Socialist Alliance candidate for Footscray in the November 27 Victorian election. Socialist Alliance’s other candidates are Mitch Cherry for Bellarine, Trent Hawkins for Brunswick and Ron Guy for Melton. * * * I moved to Australia from Austria in the late ’80s and currently teach welfare work at Victoria University TAFE in Footscray. There I have had firsthand experience of the Brumby government’s misguided “skills reform” agenda for the sector.
The Australian federal government spends more money on private schools than most other wealthy countries, and spends less than most on public education. A recent report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Education at a Glance 2010, showed Australia gave 16.9% of education money to private schools and 71.9% to government schools. The US spends 0.2% and 99.8% respectively. Most money for private school funding comes from the federal government, which argues that “grants” and “subsidies” make private schools more affordable.
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) has vowed to fight the imposition of a “sub-standard” enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) after a majority of general staff voted in favour of the agreement in a September 29-October 1 poll. The agreement fails to meet award protections that limit the use of fixed-term employment, allowing for further deregulation of the workforce. It also reduces flexibility on annual leave entitlements and allows for forced redeployment within the university.
Teachers around the country have criticised the introduction of a new national curriculum. The states have agreed to implement the new curriculum by 2013. However, the Gillard and Rudd governments have consistently pushed for this to take place by 2011. Considering that draft versions of the first curriculum documents were only released for consultation in March 2010, this was bound to end up being impossible to meet.