Education Talking Points | 10/07/2018

In Today’s Talking Points: China axes 45 Australian university partnerships as part of global cull; Experts divided on Government push for specialist STEM educators; China offers Pakistani students vocational training and education; Foundations in education are core: Finkel

China axes 45 Australian university partnerships as part of global cull

Last week, China’s Ministry of Education said that it would cut over a fifth of its 2342 international university partnerships and programmes with the goal of weeding out under-resourced programmes. Out of the 229 total programmes that are being culled 45 are partnerships with Australian tertiary education institutes. The concern about academic freedom in China has been brought up following the cuts however several senior university lectures in China have said that the decision has been made purely on economics rather than political reasons. Chinese university lecturers also state to AFR Weekend that many foreign partnerships have been struggling by being unable to attract “high-quality education resources” and qualified students.

The partnerships began in the 1990s and cater for Chinese students seeking experience at foreign universities. Under the partnerships, professors from foreign universities used to come to China to teach courses and Chinese students would complete part of a course at a foreign university. A little under 134 000 Chinese students are currently enrolled in Australia’s top universities. In total, Chinese students make up 38 per cent of all Australian higher education enrollments.

Read more: Financial Review

Experts divided on Government push for specialist STEM educators

Education Minister, Simon Birmingham has put forward a new proposal to direct more specialist STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) into Australian high schools ibn response to statistics that have been brought forward detailing how student enrolment in STEM subjects in down turning, while many STEM teachers have no specific specialisation in the area. “I’ve indicated that we have to do whatever it takes to get skilled, science-focused teachers in classrooms teaching science,” Birmingham said in response to a proposed solution that would cut universities funding with the intention of generating more STEM-specialised education graduates. The end goal that the government is trying to achieve is to ensure that every high school student has access to specialist STEM teachers rather than having teachers instruct outside their discipline.

Read more: Education HQ

China offers Pakistani students vocational training and education

Under its ‘Talent Corridor’ scheme the CPEC Cultural Communication Centre (CCC)will offer scholarships to 1000 Pakistani students for a one-year vocational training starting from November in China, this year.  The CPEC CCC scholarship scheme is a three level programme where the students will be taught content from outer space and high-speed train technology on the highest level to the operation of machines on the lowest. The education will take place in China’s Suzhou Vocational University with world-class facilities and will offer, through the scheme, 20 majors to 1000 students; a significant increase compared to last year’s 6 majors to 100 students.

Read more:  The Nation

Foundations in education are core: Finkel

Alan Finkel, Australia’s chief scientist, has raised concerns about education institutes and their pursuits of science. His main apprehension is that students who want to study science at university are not being prepared well enough at school, partly because there is a stronger focus on marks rather than content and for the situation to improve both secondary and tertiary levels of education need to review their prerequisites for specialist STEM courses to ensure students success. The concerns, brought up at a science education conference in Sydney, come after the amount of year 11 students who believed choosing a higher level of mathematics would hurt their ATAR which, once the students ended up in maths-intensive degrees at university lacked the general foundations needed to succeed in the first semester.

Read more: The Australian