Education law grants on offer

Carol Howard
Welfare Officer

ANZELA President Robert Horton with the 2013 grant recipients, Rachel Merhabi, Donna Shelley, Dusica Krunic and Mohan Dhall.

Legal studies teachers and executive staff in NSW schools are invited to apply for a grant to attend the Australia and New Zealand Education Law (ANZELA) annual conference in Adelaide October 1–3.

ANZELA NSW’s Chapter is offering two grants (inclusive of the conference fee of approximately $850) to assist with travel, accommodation and conference costs:

  • $1750 for one applicant from the Greater Sydney metropolitan area including Wollongong/Blue Mountains/Central Coast
  • $2050 for one non-Sydney applicant.

The conference fee will be paid directly by the NSW Chapter to the organisers.

Applications close at 5pm on May 16. Application forms can be obtained from welfare@nswtf.org.au.

The conference theme, “Walking the tightrope — getting the balance right: Issues and challenges in education law”, will allow for an opportunity to explore numerous areas of tension that exist in education and in law. Should students’ rights or those of teachers be given priority? Should parents be allowed to remove their children from the formal education system? Is limiting access to new technologies necessary to control cyber-bullying, or should technology be incorporated into the classroom? Has the legal regulation of discrimination gone too far or not far enough? Where is the balance between freedom of expression and preventing racist speech to be found?

With its focus on “walking the tightrope” this conference provides an opportunity for teachers, students, parents and others involved in the education system to explore these and many other challenging educational and legal issues.

ANZELA is an international organisation which provides an opportunity for those in the professions of education and law to share with one another developments in education law.

ANZELA’s members include school principals, teachers and administrators from the public and private sectors; government and private lawyers; union officials; and university lecturers in law and education.

Carol Howard is the Secretary of the NSW Chapter of ANZELA.

Stunned by session content

A recipient of an ANZELA NSW Chapter grant to attend last year’s in Hobart was “stunned” by some facts relayed by the keynote speaker.

In her report on the conference Anissa Ruitenberg, a Human Society and Its Environment teacher at Kempsey High School, wrote Tasmanian Governor Peter Underwood outlined some “shocking figures”, with research showing that 49 per cent of adults in Tasmania and 47 per cent of adults in other Australian states and territories are not functionally literate.

“The organisation, diversity and quality of guest speakers were excellent, including speakers from New Zealand and United States. There was a range of educators including teachers and principals, and a range of solicitors and associates from the legal profession,” Ms Ruitenberg wrote.

“Attending the conference was a very rewarding, enjoyable time,” she also wrote.

Fellow grant recipient Dusica Krunic, Legal Studies and Human Society and its Environment teacher at Merrylands High School was interested in a session titled “Legal Literacy and ICT: An Examination of the Australian Teaching Standards and Implications for Teachers’ Understanding of Law”. She noted research indicated that teachers’ awareness of such issues is limited to a narrow range of matters such as cyberbullying and online grooming.