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Inside Teaching : June 2011
State of the nation May saw National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) testing for students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 across the nation. According to Bruce McDougall in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph in May, ‘some high schools’ are using the results for enrolment purposes. The report did not identify any schools. According to Commonwealth Minister for School Education Peter Garrett, any allegation of schools using NAPLAN data to determine enrolment should be referred to the relevant state education department for investigation. Expect the My University website developed by the Commonwealth Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) to be less controversial than the My School website of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. DEEWR says My University will be ready for user testing in July, to go live by the end of the year. According to DEEWR, the interactive, searchable website will address course information, campus facilities, student/staff ratios, student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, information about fees and student services, and the quality of teaching. Much of this information is already published by DEEWR, but not in an online form that allows comparisons between institutions, although the teaching quality indicator is new. It’s believed this will draw on information about staff qualifications, professional development, teacher induction programs and peer review. Don’t expect offshore international students from India to be using the My University website when it goes live, though. Commonwealth Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) figures show that Indian student visa holders dropped from 83,889 to 53,747. Offshore schools sector visas were down by 19 per cent, onshore visas by 29 per cent. Still on immigration, the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) 2011 Immigration Detention at Villawood report released in May called on DIAC and the Commonwealth Minister for Immigration to make full use of community detention for asylum seekers who are children. According to DIAC’s Immigration Detention Statistics Summary, as at 6 May, 1,038 children were in immigration residential housing, transit accommodation or various forms of community detention. DIAC, in its response to the AHRC report, observed, ‘There will be a continued need to accommodate (children) and their families in low- to medium-security facilities and alternative places of detention whilst community-based accommodation is being sourced.’ Editorial The Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs (MCEECDYA) in April agreed to a national approach to the accreditation of initial teacher education programs developed by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL). The agreement means all initial teacher education programs will be assessed against AITSL’s national professional standards at the graduate teacher level. Australasian Teacher Regulatory Authorities (ATRA) Chairperson Susan Halliday said ATRA supports and welcomes the decision. ‘Over the years, ATRA has strongly advocated for a national accreditation system of teacher education programs, and member states and territories have contributed their comprehensive knowledge and experience in the development of the new system,’ she said, adding that, ‘Much work remains to be done before the new system can be implemented nationally.’