find the latest legal job
Legal Advisor
Category: Other | Location: All Darwin NT
· Exciting and challenging environment · 3 year fixed contract - Position # LO6
View details
Property Lawyer | In-house | Global UK Company | 3-8PQE | Melbourne
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Melbourne VIC 3004
· Be part of a large in-house team · Property experience an advantage
View details
In-house Property Lawyer - 3-6year PQE | Dynamic High Impact Role
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Melbourne VIC 3004
· Highly regarded internal legal team · Ideal first in-house role
View details
Category: Other | Location: Perth CBD, Inner & Western Suburbs Perth WA
· Strategic Leadership Role · Strong Commercial Skills & Knowledge
View details
Category: Other | Location: Perth CBD, Inner & Western Suburbs Perth WA
· Statutory Appointment · Legal Profession Complaints Committee
View details
Budget cuts threaten education innovation

Budget cuts threaten education innovation

Australia may lose its edge as a leader in legal education if funding is withdrawn from the Office of Learning and Teaching, academics have warned.

Under the recent federal budget, the government plans to cut $20.9 million over four years from the Promotion of Excellence in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education program (PELTHE).

The PELTHE program provides researchers with grants and fellowships to study education methods under the Office of Learning and Teaching, as well as running an awards and citations program.

The budget papers show the activities of the Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT) will be scrapped, with the remaining $17.9 million worth of funding underpinning the awards and citations program only.

Professor Sally Kift, deputy vice-chancellor (academic) of James Cook University and president of the Australian Learning and Teaching Fellows, warned that abolishing the OLT would cause the quality of Australian legal education to suffer.

“The sorts of grants, awards and fellowships that have made a critical contribution to the quality of Australian legal education to date will no longer be available,” she said.

“We will no longer have the opportunity, as an Australian legal education sector, to collaborate on enhancing practice.”

In particular, she warned that Australia may lose its place on the world stage as a legal education innovator.

“To date, what has happened is that the Office for Learning and Teaching has positioned Australia well among global leaders in legal education – I think it’s fairly acknowledged that we are certainly right up there, if not the global leader, in the quality of our legal education,” she said.

“We’re concerned we will lose that edge and that capacity to keep refreshing our curriculum to re-attune with modern professional practice.”

Professor Kift suggested that the move was particularly concerning in light of the government’s innovation agenda, which she said ought to encourage education research.

“The government is keen to invest $1.1 billion over four years in an innovation strategy for the ideas boom – and most of that money is going into research and research infrastructure,” she said.

“We would say that you need to invest in learning and teaching innovation and investing in innovative practitioners and entrepreneurial practitioners, who are equipped with the skills we need to interact with the dynamic, globalised workforce.”

In her view, the OLT has been instrumental in helping legal education move beyond the Priestley 11 to teach students soft skills and address mental health challenges.

“I think the impact[s] that OLT and its predecessors have had have been out of proportion to its size and its funding,” she said. “It’s a relatively modest investment for great impact and outcomes and positions us well.”

Universities Australia chief executive Belinda Robinson also decried the funding cuts.

“The OLT was supported by a small amount of funding but was making a big difference for teachers and students, including projects to improve teaching excellence and retention of students,” she said.

She praised the budget for boosting resources to the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency (TEQSA), but warned the loss of the OLT would leave a gap.

“While universities are pleased to see the additional resources for TEQSA, it should not be at the expense of the highly effective OLT,” Ms Robinson said.


Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
May 26 2017
Coroner’s Lindt Café siege findings to have consequences for criminal lawyers
One of the most extensive coronial inquests in NSW has now concluded, with 45 recommendations concer...
May 26 2017
Lawyers can be humans too, judge says
Judge Felicity Hampel of the Victorian County Court has spoken about the need for lawyers to engage...
May 26 2017
Sydney to host international dispute resolution conference
A discussion focusing on the future of dispute resolution will come to Sydney on Monday, 29 May, as ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years...
Angela Lynch
May 9 2017
Women’s legal service appoints chief executive
Women’s Legal Service Queensland has appointed an experienced family lawyer as its new CEO. ...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...