I have always found tests and exams, whether the NAPLAN or Victorian Certificate of Education, very problematic. For one thing, it only tests English and numeracy, as if other subjects are not important and do not contribute to numeracy and literacy skills. For several years, educators have known that there are different learning styles and techniques. Some people have one dominant learning style, others use different styles in different situations, and styles are not fixed.
When Association pour une Solidarité Syndicale Étudiante (ASSÉ) announced that it would be breaking ranks with its more moderate colleagues in the student federations and boycotting the new government's education summit, it was clear that they were taking a huge risk. When they called a mass demonstration for the last day of the education summit and publicly announced that it would be the largest demonstration since the end of last year's unlimited general strike, and that they expected in the neighborhood of 10,000 students to show up, they were doubling down with reckless abandon.
This week on campuses across the country, Resistance members are opening their books and getting back into study. Our “Bachelor of Revolutionary Activism” will be open to anyone who is interested in getting an education in socialist ideas. Classes will include a discussion on Marxist-feminism. Others will be about how we can save our environment, or how best to support the Palestinian people. It’s a little bit different in each city or campus, but there will be common themes. Everywhere Resistance will be putting forward an alternative vision on how to run the world.
Hundreds of students and staff joined the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) picket lines at the Sydney University on March 7. Members of the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), the Finance Sector Union, the Maritime Union of Australia, and the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union supported and attended the picket. The picket was followed by a 300-strong rally. The NTEU has voted to stop work again for 48 hours if management does not cooperate during bargaining. Green Left Weekly’s Rachel Evans spoke to several participants. ***
The National Tertiary Education Union released the statement below on March 1. *** National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) members at the University of Sydney will strike for 24 hours on March 7 over enterprise bargaining. “This is the first strike in a decade and shows just how riled our members are at management's arrogance and its lack of commitment to the enterprise bargaining process,” said branch president Michael Thomson. “We logged our enterprise bargaining claims on August 7 last year.
Whackademia: An Insider’s Account of the Troubled University Richard Hil NewSouth Publishing, 2012 239 pages, $34.99 (pb) Universities were better in the olden days, says Dr Richard Hil in Whackademia. As an Essex University student in the 1970s, Hil joined the British Socialist Workers Party (which expanded his political horizons) and the Campaign for Real Ale (which expanded his waistline), while his lecturers stimulated his intellectual growth.
The article below is an extract from Resistance’s Education zine, which was released on campuses this week. *** In every state and territory, at many tertiary educational institutions, students are resisting a tide of cuts, commodification and privatisation. Universities face staff, subject and department cuts, rising fees and costs, casualisation of staff, bigger classes, less class time and less face-to-face contact.
The National Tertiary Education Union released this statement on February 19. *** National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) members at the University of Sydney have voted overwhelmingly in favour of taking industrial action over their claims for a new Enterprise Agreement. The ballot for protected industrial action was counted and declared on Friday afternoon. Over 1000 members voted.
More than 30,000 Victorian teachers and education support (ES) staff walked off the job on February 14 in their campaign for better pay and conditions. Government figures show that 65% of school staff took part in strike action and 300 schools did not have students. Meredith Peace, Australian Education Union (AEU) state president, also reported that more than 300 schools were brought to a standstill and that every school in the state had some form of disruption.

Comedian and socialist Mark Steel addressed a protest against cuts and privitisation at Sussex University on February 12. Students at Sussex University have been occupying the university's conference centre since February 6 against the university's outsourcing of key services.

Thousands of government and private school teachers plus education support (ES) staff will stop work for 24 hours on February 14. They will attend two separate stop work meetings, then join to march together on the Victorian parliament to show their determination to win better working conditions and pay. Why are teachers and ES staff striking?

Last August, La Trobe University was engulfed in protests from students demanding a reversal of cuts to the humanities and social sciences faculty. More than 600 subjects and 41 full-time positions were permanently wiped out by the corporate-minded vice-chancellor, John Dewar.   The campaign of peaceful protest and civil disobedience has been faced with severe repression and violence from the university security. One piece of video footage clearly showed a member of the security team physically assaulting and injuring one of the protest organisers.