Fed takeover of VET unlikely, says new Minister

Focus on fixing VET FEE-HELP

Fairfax Media       |    11 March 2016

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The newly-minted Commonwealth minister for skills, Scott Ryan,  has poured cold water on a proposed Commonwealth takeover of vocational education and training set out in a draft of a paper to go to the next meeting of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).  Under the proposal, TAFE fees would be deregulated and TAFEs would receive the same funding.

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ScottRyanWhile education Simon Birmingham has strongly advocated a Commonwealth takeover,  Ryan says there are strong arguments to maintain the current system.

“It’s a matter for COAG …but my personal inclination has not usually been that a federal takeover ensures better outcomes. I instinctively like diversity. There are different needs in our different states … we have different high school completion rates.

Ryan said redesigning the troubled VET FEE-HELP scheme – which has blown out in costs and led to the targeting of vulnerable and disadvantaged students – is his top priority.

“There is serious work to be done to clean up the sector and make sure the new funding model in 2017 eliminates this behaviour and ensure it doesn’t happen again.”

Ryan said the move to extend HECS-style loans to vocational students was “laudable” but has clearly failed.

He stressed he did not want to punish private providers offering high quality courses and that the sector has to be flexible enough to respond to changing economic needs.

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