Wednesday, March 30, 2011

IELTS Ripping 0ff Australia


IELTS has come under fire for corruption with test results being "fixed" for a price. WA criminal Justice Commission has found that IELTS Staff had excepted bribes to change the results to increase the scores allocated to various students. Not only are SEEK ripping off Australians by overcharging for the cost of the exam, the administration of the system is also seriously flawed.

The Government must now act to restore confidence in the system and dramaticly reduce the cost of the exams. IELTS licencing monopoly must be removed from SEEK IELTS Australia and the education department must develop its own testing regime independent from private sources. One that includes a section on basic Occupational Health and Safety language.

Thousands of foreign Students studying in Australia are being ripped off.

One of the statutory requirements in seeking an education in Australia or recognition of English language skills is for students and applicants to sit a IELTS - English Language Exam.

IELTS is a British Council sponsored certification test. There are wide criticisms about the test and its application to Australia, even its assessment level. The test which is also used for Immigration covers no practical assessment of Occupational Health and Safety requirements or procedures.

The test cost $317.00 to sit in Australia.

If you travel to other countries the test is considerable less, nearly half of what is charge in Australia. In the United States the test costs $185. In the US TESOL is the standard English exam.

In Australia IELTS has a virtual/Legislative monopoly. Elsewhere in the world IELTS testing is undertaken by the British Council, again the cost of the exam is half that charged Australian students.

We wrote to International Development Program (IDP) trading as IELTS Australia Pty Ltd (a subsidiary of SEEK) seeking an explanation as to why Australian students are charged more than their US/UK counterparts

IDP replied

This email address is designed for general enquiries about how the IELTS test works and is used as an aid to help potential candidates with their questions.

We are not in a position to offer comment regarding the IELTS test fee in different countries around the world.

IELTS Further Assist

The email address we contacted was the one provided on the IDP IELTS web site. The unnamed respondent did not consider it appropriate to forward the address of the relevant person who could explain why Australian students are being charged nearly twice as students in the USA and why the cost charged by IDP is twice the cost charged by The British Council in other counties.

In the absence of any information justifying why Australians are being over charged we have decided to forward our concerns to the Ministers for Immigration and Education, Trade Unions and the ACCC

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Northern State Alarm Bells Ring Out

The ALP loss in NSW was expected but never the less sends a clear warning for Victoria and the future of the ALP Gillard Government.

Victoria managed to hold back the landslide and catastrophe that was waiting to happen in NSW. Victoria was spared in part because of Gillard. Had it not been for Gillard the Victorian ALP would have seen a blood bath last year as we are now witnessing in NSW.

John Brumby managed to hold back the tide. He should have won the November State Election and only fell short by one seat in what would have under different circumstances been a similar fate to what we have seen in NSW this weekend.

The reason Brumby failed to be re-elected was primarily due to the ALP 's State Office and the lack of solid leadership coming from the State Secretariat. As highlighted by George Droukas, ALP strategist, in his assessment review of the State election - former ALP secretary Nick Reece lost Brumby the election. Reece also contributed to the slide in Federal support in 2010.

The ALP is facing a long cold spell in Victoria and unless things improve we could see a repeat of events that occurred in NSW this weekend.

A 10% swing away from labour will see the ALP lose a number of Inner City seats including Melbourne Ports. A fact that has not escaped the attention of the ALP power brokers that be.

With the Greens on the eve of assuming control of the Senate in July and the smell of power within the grasp of the Liberal Party pressure will be on to force a double dissolution of the Federal Parliament later this year.

If there is to be a fresh Federal election then Gillard will be defeated, swamped by the tide of disaffected voters nationally. Julia Gillard like Kristine Keneally is highly capable and skilled at providing a leadership role. Keneally's short lived premiership was impressive. Like Brumby she was weighed down by a governemnt that had been in office for over three terms and was let down by her back bench and the lack of professional administrative support.

It is this lack of engagement with the party and the broader community that is depleting the ALPs support and seriously placing at risk the next Federal election. If the level of disengagement and lack of professionalism continues we will soon see Melbourne without any ALP representation.

The prospect of Australia facing a new Federal election in six months is real.

Unless the issues of professionalism and management are addressed the ALP will be left out in the cold for many years to come.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Matcham - A creative story teller

In memory of Matcham Skipper: Mentor, Artist, Jeweller Sculptor, Creative thinker and Story teller.