The Educator Weekend Wrap: Gonski blitz, foreign student surge and school mulls High Court action

by The Educator05 Mar 2016

In this week’s top story, the Australian Education Union (AEU) announced that it will spend $2m on an advertising campaign to pressure the Federal Government to match Labor’s $4.5bn school funding pledge. In a speech to the AEU federal conference in Melbourne, the union’s federal president, Correna Haythorpe, revealed that the AEU would soon be launching a free-to-air TV and print ads in the next two weeks. “We will be spending $2m to get the message out that Gonski funding matters,” she said, stressing the need for the union to build on its success and “keep Gonski high on the national political agenda” The ads will begin on March 6 and will appear on TV in Sydney, Brisbane and regional NSW, being backed up by a broader print and digital campaign.

In other news, new data showed that the International Education market is breaking records with the current value of the industry sitting at $19.65bn in 2015. In 2015, there were 645,185 enrolments by full-fee paying international students in Australia on a student visa. Federal Minister for Tourism and International Education, Richard Colbeck, told The Educator that the growth means schools with capacity to accommodate more international students may find it easier to do so. He added Australia’s high quality qualifications were “the top reason” why international students continued to choose Australia as their study destination. “This is followed by the reputation of our institutions, the overall quality of the Australian education system, the safety of our country and the quality of research and training at our institutions,” he said.

Finally, the Islamic School of Canberra, which had its funding revoked by the Federal Government last week, said it is prepared to take the Federal Government to the High Court over the decision. The school, located in Weston, had its registration stripped after the Federal Government revoked its funding, citing governance issues by the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC) last week. “The Malek Fahd Islamic School and the Islamic School of Canberra did not acknowledge the issues, did not engage their own independent support, had limited engagement with the department and did not put forward amendments to their constitution,” Federal Education Minister, Simon Birmingham said.