IN regard to your story 'Hunter students celebrate offers’ (Newcastle Herald, 21/12), I wish to congratulate those HSC students who have achieved high marks.
It is, however, a cause for concern that some of the students who did not do well in the HSC will also receive offers of university entry. As I understand it, universities tend to rate themselves, at least partially, on the number of enrolments, hence the amount of money they receive from fees. So I believe they continue to lower the entry requirements for many course. A flow-on effect is that lecturers and tutors are pressured into allowing some students to pass who should never have been enrolled in the first place.
I think this occurs most blatantly with foreign students whose parents are paying huge fees. As a tutor once, I had two students from non-English speaking backgrounds who could barely read and write English, yet I was expected to give them a pass. The end result is the “dumbing down” of some courses to the point where some degrees are barely worth the paper on which they are written and many graduates have little chance of finding work in the field in which they have studied for three or four years. Far better that many of these students had gone to TAFE and taken up an apprenticeship in area where employers are crying out for qualified tradespeople.
THE plans for a Japanese university to work with the University of Newcastle to establish a campus in the old courthouse are an exciting development. Greater understanding and respect between nations and cultures of the world is the best foundation for international cooperation and peace.
In the dark times of World War II, many Australians suffered during the war with Japan. Among that ‘great generation’ were giants who went on to make major contributions to the community. In Newcastle they included solicitor Peter Withycombe of Sparke-Helmore, accountant Colin Cutcher, and doctors Peter Hendry, Tom Hamilton, Tom Brereton and Roy Mills. There were many others. They could never forgot the horrors they went through, such as on the Burma Railway, but did not let that stop them achieving great things for their community in later life. They would have welcomed this new venture as a positive way of building closer friendships internationally. It would be very appropriate for to ensure that both Australian and Japanese students learn the stories of their suffering, and be inspired by the achievements of these giants of our community in the new campus.
THE Newcastle Herald letters page has, perhaps serendipitously, thrown up several contenders for the next council election.
And all on the same day.
Thank you Dr Christine Everingham (‘Mini-Monaco is a monumental myth, Newcaslte Herald, 19/12). Dr Everingham’s attention to detail, exposing information for ratepayers, and her finger on the pulse exposing the ‘money trail’ and wobbly ‘research data’ regarding Newcastle council, Supercars, and Destination NSW, (an arm of the state government). She has my vote.
Other members of her team could be: Greg Newton (‘Please plan it properly, Letters, 19/12), planning and development, perhaps. Geoff Black (‘Travesty of the light rail’, Letters, 19/12) and Graeme Tychsen (‘Newcastle’s Time Now’ Letters, 19/12) for transport, (they can job share).
Thank you to everyone who writes in to keep these vitally (no pun intended) important issues on the pages of our local newspaper, without which some of us would be groping in the dark. Speaking of which, a special thank you to Joanne McCarthy. It all seemed to go quiet after Homebush packed up. Just a thought, Joanne teaming up with Dr Everingham? Now that’s a team fit for the undertaking. Merry Christmas to all staff at the Newcastle Herald.
I FIRST heard about the brumby culling on the ABC radio. The announcer said that the Department of Defence had advised that other avenues of culling had been tried and failed and one reason given was that the area was very inhospitable and aerial culling was the only option left. He also stated that any foals found would be given to the Brumbies Association. Now as Novocastrians the word of the Department of Defence is unbelievable and I mean unbelievable given their responses to what has happened around the RAAF base.
There are two important factors – remembering that the terrain is inhospitable and the horses numbered 100 plus. These horses would be frightened by the noise of the helicopter and their first instinct would be to run. At full flight in that type of terrain the chances are that some would fall and break a leg. In full flight with foals maybe only months old how does the shooter know if he has shot the mother of the foal?
Taking into account the terrain, how were the dead animals collected? The only way would be by helicopters which would make it expensive. Aerial culling is prohibited but because this is done over government land it was allowed. People had asked for the culling to be halted so a more humane way could be found. The Department of Defence and its ministers have not listened. Good luck to them at the next election.
NO comment at all from our lord mayor in response to the Auditor-General's report criticising the light rail program in Newcastle. No expression of anger from our CEO about the huge financial waste involved, or the complete lack of a business case justifying the folly of a rail "network" which can never, according to the Auditor-General, be extended.
Perhaps their silence is due to the same failure of council to produce any semblance of a business case for the move to the west end. Ratepayers are entitled to know the basics about the move. What is the rent, and is it CPI-adjusted? What is the real cost of the move? How will the claimed 14 per cent productivity boost be measured? Why does the new building have such lavish car accommodation, when the public is urged by council to use public transport? Is it the case that council unions have been given an assurance that no jobs will go, despite the claimed massive productivity gains? Why weren't tenders called? Is it true that even councillors were never given a full rationale for the move? Answers are needed to all these questions. In short, we need to see a proper business case. It's our money.
The Herald pen goes to Mal Sinclair for his letter about moving with the times.
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