Australian universities are paying more than an estimated $250 million each year to unregulated middlemen for the recruitment of international students, despite widespread acknowledgement that a number of these agents are corrupt and deal in fraudulent documents. Information provided by universities also suggests commission payments are rising.
The commissions paid by universities, which in just the past four years may have totalled more than $1 billion of public funds, are often not disclosed.
Now a Four Corners investigation has unearthed evidence that some major education agents in China, representing many of Australia's most prestigious universities (including Sydney, Melbourne and the Australian National University), are colluding in the submission of fraudulent student applications.
And the universities have long-known they are dealing in murky waters. In 2010, major US consulting firm Zinch, reported that 90 per cent of agency-assisted applications to US colleges from China contained fraudulent documents.
Meanwhile back on the site of the old Ballarat Orphanage....
No human remains have been found during a search at the site of a former orphanage at Ballarat, Victoria Police have said.
Police began searching the site on Monday for children's remains after concerns were raised by former orphanage residents.
But in a statement released today, Victoria Police said "no human remains have been located during the search and there will be no further police activity at the site".
"Victoria Police has been liaising closely with The Coroners Court, The Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine and the Government as part of their investigations," it said.
"The investigation has now been finalised."
It's not all good news however. check out this story from the Brisbane Times and Nine News about the disturbing practices that went on at Meerkol Orphange in Queensland.
Precious funding found for climate change deniers from the education budget!
Story from today's Guardian:
Story from today's Guardian:
The Abbott government found $4m for the climate contrarian Bjørn Lomborg to establish his “consensus centre” at an Australian university, even as it struggled to impose deep spending cuts on the higher education sector.
A spokesman for the education minister, Pyne said the government was contributing $4m over four years to “bring the Copenhagen Consensus Center methodology to Australia” at a new centre in the University of Western Australia’s business school.
The spokesman said the “Australia Consensus Centre” was a proposal put forward by the “university and Dr Lomborg’s organisation”.
Sources have told Guardian Australia the establishment of the centre had come as a surprise even to senior staff in the business school, who were unaware that the centre was being established until shortly before it was announced this month.
As Lomborg explained last year, his consensus centre was defunded by the Danish government in 2012 and he was searching for a long-term funding solution. In the meantime his centre had moved to the US and was relying on private donations for a budget of about US$1m a year.
Lomborg uses cost-benefit analysis to advise governments what spending produces the best social value for money spent, concluding that climate change is not a top-priority problem. It says the seriousness of the issue has been overstated, that subsidies for renewable energy make no economic sense, that we should stop spending as much foreign aid on climate projects and that poor countries need continued access to cheap fossil fuels.
Last year Lomborg spoke at an event on “energy poverty” in the leadup to the G20 in Brisbane, sponsored by Peabody Coal.
And in a speech to the Grattan Institute in 2013, the then shadow environment minister, Greg Hunt, used Copenhagen Consensus Center findings to support his policy to abolish the carbon tax.
The Institute of Public Affairs ( a far right wing political group full of climate change deniers ) responded to Lomborg’s new Australian operation by saying, “Bjørn, it’s great to have you!” ( and great to be HAD?)
More grim news from TAFE