In today’s Talking Points: Private equity firm Bain Capital set to enter the Australian childcare sector; NSW Independent education authority given power to close schools and run inspections; Chinese scientist, Max Lu, calls for a greater focus on basic research and development to strengthen the economy; petition against the Safe Schools program, including more than 17,000 signatures from the Australian Chinese community has been tabled in the New South Wales Parliament.
Bain Capital set to acquire early learning business Only About Children
Private equity firm Bain Capital looks set to enter the Australian childcare sector with the acquisition of Only About Children with the deal expected to be announced this week. Only About Children is one of a number of companies in the Australian childcare industry including the leading G8 Education which has 478 centres in Australia, 20 centres in Singapore, and 7.9 per cent local market share and Goodstart Early Learning, formerly ABC Learnings Centres, which holds 7.2 per cent market share. in 1987 Bain was a founding investor in US childcare group Bright Horizons which has grown to more than 700 childcare centres globally with Bain continuing to hold a 25 per cent stake.
Source: Australian Financial Review
NSW Independent education authority given power to close schools and run inspections
The Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES) is being given enhanced powers to close down non-compliant schools and conduct random unannounced inspections in Catholic, private and public schools. These new powers are aimed at lifting student results by ensuring school compliance and teacher quality. Random and risk-based audits, will give the agency the ability to warn and ultimately deregister a school not meeting regulatory requirements. Inspectors will be trained to observe classrooms and even be able to examine students’ workbooks to ensure work reflects the official curriculum. Rapid turnover of senior staff or school boards, finance concerns, poor academic results or an abundance of parent complaints are issues that could potentially lead to risk audits and school inspections.
Source: Canberra Times
Chinese Scientist says China must concentrate on research
Chinese scientist and president and vice-chancellor of the University of Surrey in Southern England, Max Lu calls for a greater focus on basic research and development to strengthen the economy. China’s 13th Five-year plan (2016-2020) also pushes for China to become a leader in innovation and technology.
“China’s number of research publications, as well as its quality and citations and patent registrations, are all accelerating. At the same time, challenges still exist in terms of investing in basic science and also in the translation of research into practical applications” Lu said.
China currently spends about 5 percent of its research funding on basic research, far behind other developed countries, which on average spend around 30 percent on basic science according to the organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Whilst China’s research strength is yet to be fully optimized, it is heading in the right direction, Lu said. For example, there is an increasing focus on peer review in the process of allocating research grants as opposed to having grants decided by government officials. Academics are also being given more flexibility when they receive funding across multiple years.
Source: China Daily
Australian Chinese Community petition against Safe Schools anti-bullying program
A petition against the Safe Schools program, of more than 17,000 signatures from the Australian Chinese community has been tabled in the New South Wales Parliament. Safe Schools is a federally funded program against bullying. It aims to help protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and/ or intersex (LGBTI) school students from discrimination. The petition says that the program should it be cancelled as it “promotes a particular ideology, including gender fluidity, that is contrary to our cultural and belief system.” It also states that the program “discriminates against children and parents from other cultures who have a view of sexual relationships involving male and female as normative.” The petition has been tabled in Parliament and will be debated on September 22.