Holding the Line is the theme of the NTEU’s Bluestocking Week 2013 to be celebrated this year between 12 -16 August.
2013 has been a tumultuous period for gender politics. This makes this year’s Bluestocking Week an even more critical moment for women working in higher education. The theme is ‘Holding the Line’ and the necessity of resistance to sexism in public life has perhaps never been so pronounced.
Bluestocking Week is named for the first generations of university women of the 19th century who grabbed the term, and even as it was used by their opponents as a derogatory dismissal of their achievements and proudly wore it as a badge of serious scholarship. The term originates from the latter part of the 18th century as women started organising literary societies in their homes and began campaigning for women’s access to university and more generally for women’s rights to equality in work, under the law and access into the parliaments. Many of the middle and upper class leaders of the suffragist and suffragette movements started out in or were influenced by these literary societies, as did some of the male supporters of women’s rights. Indeed the term blue stocking is often attributed to a male member of the circle who arrived at meetings in his everyday worsted wool blue stockings rather than white silk ones usually worn by men when meeting with men. This was taken up as distinguishing the women’s initiative.*
See www.nteu.org.au/bluestockingweek and the 2012 edition of Agenda, the NTEU’s annual women’s magazine (link) for details of the origins and histories of the Bluestockings.
We focused last year upon celebrating the success of women in higher education drawing upon the history of women’s sometimes slow, but determined struggle for participation in universities as students and staff, as well as upon challenging gendered discrimination in the construction and transmission of knowledge. Read more...
By Paul Clifton (Uni Casual). There’s nothing casual about casual employment. The working conditions experienced by tens of thousands of casual academics in Australia’s public and private universities demonstrate that casualisation, as an employment strategy, is both widespread and systemic.
These images form part of a double spread infographic in the upcoming issue of Connect, the NTEU and CAPA magazine for casual academics. Facts and figures from the Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (DIICCSRTE) and the Work and Careers in Australian Universities Survey (WCAU) point out how bad casualisation has become. Read more...
By Jeannie Rea. University women across Australia are donning blue stockings and putting their best foot (and leg) forward for Bluestocking Week, 12-16 August.
NTEU National President, Jeannie Rea, who launched Bluestocking Week in Melbourne today, said that the theme this year was ‘holding the line’.
“2013 has been a tumultuous period for gender politics. This makes this year’s Bluestocking Week an even more critical moment for women working in higher education. The necessity to resist to sexism in public life has perhaps never been so pronounced,” she said.
“Underpinning this is the persistent gender pay gap. Men out-earn women in every occupational group in Australia, even in those jobs dominated by women. Gender inequity is still a major issue in university employment, even while more women than men study and work at universities.”
Today’s launch had women literally ‘holding the line’ – a clothes line with large cardboard blue stockings displaying facts about women’s pay inequity. Read more...
By Jeannie Rea. The Review of Higher Education released today by Minister for Higher Education, Senator Kim Carr, will be welcomed members of the National Tertiary Education Union because it explicitly recognises the distinction between regulation and quality assurance, National President Jeannie Rea said today.
“The NTEU strongly agrees with the finding of the review that the legislation which governs the operation of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) is not operating in a manner intended by the Government or the sector,” Rea said.
“The NTEU shares the concern of the authors Professors Kong Lee Dow and Valarie Braithwaite that the operation of TEQSA does not reflect the regulatory principles of risk, proportionality and necessity as outlined in the legislation, but rather constitutes a data collection and audit model where all institutions are treated as equal regardless of their size, history or reputation. Read more...
By Jeannie Rea. The release yesterday of Universities Australia’s report, University student finances in 2012, clearly shows that students need much more support while they are studying at university, Jeannie Rea National President of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) said today.
“It’s a national disgrace that almost one in five university students reports going without food and ends up graduating with an average debt of almost $38,000,” Rea said.
“While the report acknowledges that the changes introduced by the Labor government resulted in student income support being better targeted, it is unacceptable that 17% of students regularly go without food and other necessities. A university degree should be built on more than two-minute noodles.
“Eighty percent of full-time university students have a job to support themselves and they work, on average, 16 hours a week. Around a quarter of those with jobs work more than 20 hours a week so altogether it’s no surprise that over half of all students indicated that work was interfering with their studies.
“Over many years working in a university, I have seen too many students stop attending classes and submitting assignments because they need to take on more hours of paid work. Their performances suffer and, too often, they end up abandoning their courses but still have to pay their accumulated HECs debt.”
Australian students pay amongst the highest tuition fees to attend a public university in the world. These fees which are repaid through the income contingent HECS scheme range between $18,000 and $60,000, Rea said. Read more...
1. General Terms:
a. The general terms used throughout the present Recommendation are the same as those understood in the Lisbon Recognition Convention and referenced in the definition of terms (Section I) of the Convention.
2. Terminology specific to the present Recommendation:
a. “National Qualifications Framework(s) (NQFs)” refers to qualifications frameworks developed at the national or sub-national level and specific to a country’s structure of education and training;
b. “Overarching frameworks” refers to regional frameworks to which NQFs are related (for example the QF-EHEA and EQF-LLL);
c. “Qualifications frameworks” refers in general terms to both NQFs and overarching frameworks.
II. Scope and General Considerations
1. The Recommendation focuses on the use of qualifications frameworks as important information and transparency tools in the recognition of higher education qualifications and qualifications giving access to higher education.
2. The Recommendation takes account of the fact that, from a lifelong learning perspective, qualifications frameworks can also facilitate the recognition of prior learning, since qualifications frameworks describe qualifications in terms of learning outcomes independently from learning paths. It also takes account of the fact that qualifications frameworks can be used to facilitate access to the labour market.
3. The Recommendation demonstrates ways in which qualifications frameworks may be helpful in establishing similarities between foreign qualifications and relevant qualifications within the education system in which recognition is sought, and whether or not there are substantial differences between qualifications.
4. The fact that not all countries, or indeed all signatories to the Lisbon Recognition Convention, have national qualifications frameworks should not be an impediment to recognizing qualifications from such countries. Likewise many older qualifications may not be placed in a qualifications framework even if the country in question has now developed one.
5. National Qualifications Frameworks facilitate recognition especially when they have been linked in a transparent and comparative way – through self-certification and referencing – to the overarching frameworks, such as QF-EHEA and EQF-LLL.
6. While the existence of a NQF alone does not lead to “automatic recognition”, the positioning of qualifications within the NQF of the awarding country and their relation to one or more overarching frameworks gives important information to facilitate the recognition processes.
1. The competent recognition authorities, and the ENIC Network should develop a common understanding on how to use national, European or other overarching qualifications frameworks for the purpose of facilitating the fair recognition of qualifications and should identify the opportunities and challenges they present.
2. Qualifications frameworks should be used to make it easier for competent recognition authorities to assess foreign qualifications.
3. Qualifications frameworks should be used while considering the five key elements in recognition: level, learning outcomes, quality, workload and profile. However, qualifications frameworks provide limited information to support the recognition process when it comes to the profile of a qualification.
4. The following principles should apply to assure the effective use of qualifications frameworks in recognition practice:
i. If a National Qualifications Framework has been self-certified or referenced, there is, as a general rule, no need for the competent recognition authority to investigate the level of qualifications further;
ii. In the case that qualifications have been referenced/self-certified towards the same level in overarching frameworks, they should be seen as broadly compatible;
iii. When level discrepancies occur, qualification specific information including the Diploma Supplement or other documents should be used. In these cases, the formal rights the qualification in the awarding country should be taken into account.
b. Learning outcomes
i. The learning outcomes of National Qualifications Frameworks and of overarching qualifications frameworks are generic and provide a reference point for recognition;
ii. In cases where the learning outcomes provided by the qualifications frameworks are insufficient for recognition purposes, the more detailed descriptions of learning outcomes provided by institutions should be used. The description of learning outcomes in the Diploma Supplement or other documents is useful for recognition purposes.
i. A transparent link between recognition, qualifications frameworks and quality assurance should be established;
ii. If a National Qualifications Framework has been self-certified or referenced, there is an assumption that the individual qualifications included in the framework by the competent authority are quality assured. Therefore as a general rule there is no need for the recognition authority to investigate the quality of the qualification.
While recognising that qualifications should as far as possible be assessed on the basis of learning outcomes, competent recognition authorities may also be guided in their assessment by the workload learners are assumed to require in order to obtain the given qualification. This is normally expressed as credits and indicates the typical workload expected to achieve the learning outcomes associated with a qualification.
The second meeting of the Reporting WG took place on 02 July 2013 in Luxembourg. The meeting was attended by 21 representatives.
During the meeting, the WG members discussed the indicators found in the 2012 Bologna Process Implementation Report chapter by chapter to assess their relevance to the 2015 reporting exercise. Moreover, the participants considered the new scorecard indicator proposals and those used for the 2012 Report, and provided their recommendations on whether the indicator should be maintained in the 2015 Report and whether any amendments are needed.
Prior to the pre-test of the BFUG questionnaire, the 2012-2015 BFUG structures will have the opportunity to comment on the suggested indicators and propose new ones.
The third meeting of the Reporting WG will be held on 15 November 2013 in Riga, Latvia.
New subsidiarity text on “The use of Qualifications Framework in the recognition of foreign qualifications”
New subsidiarity text on “The use of Qualifications Framework in the recognition of foreign qualifications”
During its sixth meeting held in Split on the 19 June, the Lisbon Recognition Convention Committee adopted a new subsidiarity text on “The use of Qualifications Framework in the recognition of foreign qualifications” as well as its Explanatory Memorandum.
The development of national qualifications frameworks provides a new tool for transparency and comparability for the recognition of qualifications. The Recommendation takes notes of this situation and indicates general guidelines for their use.
Next meeting of the ad-hoc WG on the Revision of the ECTS Users’ Guide will be held in autumn 2013.
BFUG 2012-2015 working group (WG) on Social Dimension (SD) and Lifelong Learning (LLL) held its second meeting on the 17th of April 2013 in Dublin, Ireland. The meeting had a focus on the role of LLL in widening access to education and qualifications.
Wile exploring the idea of peer learning and peer reviews in SD, the WG agreed to comment on the development tools of the Peer Learning for SD (PL4SD) pilot project, evaluate the milestones achieved and select countries to be reviewed and external experts for conducting the review.
Finally, the WG reached a consensus to develop a strategy/framework on SD and LLL by 2015 with clear targets to be achieved.
The third meeting of the SD&LLL WG will be held in Brussels in mid October or in early November of 2013.