The Australian 28 April 2012
Victorian TAFEs will be stripped of preferential funding arrangements and government support for many courses will be slashed to less than $2 an hour, under an overhaul of the open training market to be announced as part of the state budget on 1 May.
The Australian reports that funding rates will rise for about 20% of courses, including apprenticeships and other high-cost training, which will assist TAFEs which dominate such training.
The government will also introduce a 5% loading for regional training, scrap maximum and minimum caps on tuition fees and halve the funding most providers get for merely assessing students.
TAFEs will be outraged over the removal of an additional base funding allowance of up to 22%, which was designed to help them provide a full range of training services.
This change is in line with last year’s Essential Services Commission recommendation that the different base funding rates be phased out. But it ignores a separate ESC recommendation to consider alternative means of funding TAFEs’ community service obligations.
The new funding regime leaves them with no funds to pay for their extra responsibilities as government providers – particularly in staff costs, reporting requirements and full service provision obligations – making it harder than ever for them to compete with private colleges.
However private colleges argue that they’re disadvantaged because they have to pay for their own infrastructure. And many will see their business models torpedoed, with funding rates slashed from between $6.50 and $8.00 to – in many cases – less than $2.00 an hour per student.
Courses in areas including business, hospitality, retail, customer contact, process manufacturing, events, fitness and sport – ranging from certificate I to diploma level – will attract less than $2.00 an hour. Enrolments in some of these courses have grown by over 4000 per cent since 2008.
But high-demand courses in high-cost areas such as roof tiling, aeroskills and mechanical trades will attract between $11.00 and $12.50 an hour. Funding rates for these courses will rise by around $1.00 an hour for TAFEs and $2.50 for private colleges.