University head privatises campus
The community-based public education group POPE (Promotion of Public Education) held a rally at the University of NSW Kensington campus last Monday to protest against the University's Vice Chancellor, John Niland, leasing a former teacher education facility to an elite private school. NSW Education Minister John Aquilina had in July refused to give permission for the sale of the University's Oatley Campus to Trinity Grammar. So John Niland leased the site. The amount has not been disclosed. Trinity Grammar has already begun work to convert lecture facilities into classrooms and last month Trinity students used the site for a sports day. The lease is for ten and a half years with an option to renew for a further five years. They intend to begin classes from January next year and have already advertised for teachers and students. "NSW is set to face the worst teacher shortage in its entire history", said POPE spokesperson, Robert Treasure. "There will be a 25 per cent shortage of teachers in five years, and since there's an international shortage it can't be solved by importing teachers as happened in the past. "Yet there's no extra money for training our teachers and valuable public teacher training assets are being handed over to one of the wealthiest private schools." The POPE rally continued a long-running campaign by the group around three key issues: * The inequitable increase in government funding for the very richest private schools; * Privatisation of precious public education assets; * The growing teacher shortage. Trinity Grammar currently charges between $5,000 and $10,000 per year for each junior student, and over $10,000 for senior students. Combined State and Federal funding for Trinity has increased by 30 per cent over two years to $2.1 million. The recent Federal Budget increased funding to schools like Trinity Grammar by $561 million and the Federal Government's benchmarking system has immediately handed Trinity an extra $40,000 this year; an amount equivalent to an experienced teacher's salary.