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Labor proposes to create 10 “polytechnics”

26 June 2016

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A Labor government would establish 10 Commonwealth Institutes of Higher Education , on a trial basis.

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Polytechnic def

 

They would involve universities and TAFE Institutes working together to deliver associate degrees and advanced diplomas.

At a total cost of A$430 million, 10,000 Commonwealth Supported Places would be available.  These “HECS” places would be funded at 70% of the normal rate.

This essentially creates a new layer of tertiary education, not unlike colleges of further education in England and community colleges in the US. Students could study a two year sub-bachelor, higher education course at one of these institutions, then if they wish to complete a full degree they would receive credit for study to date.

At that stage they would go on to a normal HECS place at a university, which would be 100% funded during the final year.

The idea, it seems, is to have a network of such tertiary education institutions, bringing together the best of applied higher education and vocational skills training into institutions that are not funded to do research.

As with Colleges of Advanced Education which disappeared in the Dawkins Reforms of 1989-90, these Institutes would be “higher education”, but the conceptual difference between vocational and higher education is increasingly blurred.

What is Labor’s proposal?

While the Institutes model is a new form of collaboration, it is not a new kind of a university. Commonwealth institutes will be joint ventures between universities, TAFEs, industry and in many cases local and State governments. They will deliver a mix of higher education with technically focused vocational education specifically designed to drive innovation and productivity growth in industry and enterprises. The applied nature of learning and the close link between theory and practice will offer a unique student experience compared to universities or in training.

Many students eligible for tertiary education are seeking a practical vocational approach to learning. Commonwealth Institutes will be the specialist providers in the delivery of hands-on work-integrated learning. Applied real-world learning will be its distinguishing feature.

Commonwealth Institutes will deliver Advanced Diplomas and Associate Degrees, as specified by Australian Qualifications Framework Level 6. Students will have a tradeable exit qualification and the option to continue on to bachelor-level study at university.

 

See

Commonwealth Institutes for Higher Education

Is Labor’s plan to create ten Institutes of Higher Education a good idea?

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