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TDA Newsletter 15 May 2017

Federal budget unveils a new model of skills funding The federal budget saw a new model of funding for vocational training, with the announcement of a skills fund that will support state and territory-led projects that meet defined Commonwealth criteria. The $1.5 billion Skilling Australians Fund effectively replaces the National Partnership Agreement on Skills and aims to create 300,000 new apprenticeships over four years. States and territories will be required to put forward projects, provide matching funding, and achieve agreed milestones. The Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills Karen Andrews told a post-budget breakfast that the fund "marks an unprecedented … [Read more...]

Resourcing Australia’s tertiary education sector

LH Martin Institute Australian Government expenditure on tertiary education has been consistently at 0.8% of GDP since 2000. There has not been a ‘blowout’ in tertiary education spending. If there is a problem, it is simply that the Government needs to bring the Budget back into balance. The contribution that can be made to that objective from the tertiary education sector is at best modest, writes Mark Warburton. While direct expenditure on higher education student places under the Commonwealth Grant Scheme (CGS) has increased considerably since 2008, this has been substantially offset since 2011 by 13 major savings measures which have reduced spending in other programs of support for … [Read more...]

The Scan 28 June 2016 #181

Apprentice numbers slump 28 June 2016    |     The number of apprentices across Australia has plunged since the Coalition took office, government figures show, with some of the steepest falls occurring in high-unemployment marginal seats still up for grabs at Saturday's election.  Western Sydney has lost 10,642 apprentices and western Melbourne 4782, while the national total fell 28 per cent from 383,562 to 278,583, between December 2013 and December last year, documents obtained under Freedom of Information and NCVER data reveal.  Labor claims the falling take up of apprenticeships is a direct result of the $1 billion stripped from trades support programs since the change of government, … [Read more...]

Can we really afford to not invest more in education?

28 June 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… The Australian newspaper has been running a none too sophisticated campaign against the boost in education spending of $37 billion over the next decade promised by Labor. It’s a mish mash of half-truths and contortions of logic, as is often the case when The Australian goes politically feral. …………………………………………………………………………………….......…… Labor has drawn on an OECD report, Universal Basic Skills, to supports its argument that increased spending on education not only contributes to equity and social inclusion but is an investment in future improvements in productivity (and, indeed, Malcolm Turnbull’s Ideas Boom).  It's a proposition with … [Read more...]

Private schools “arms race”

Fairfax Media    |  26 June 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… Private schools are outspending Victorian public schools by four to one, splurging on rowing tanks, pilates studios, sky decks and imaginariums. …………………………………………………………………………………….......…… Some top private schools have spent up to $70 million on capital projects over the past few years as part of a facilities "arms race" to lure students. The state's biggest spender, Carey Baptist Grammar School, shelled out about $11.4 million in 2014 on a new "learning and innovation" centre at its Kew campus. The $23 million building features an "audiovisual Imaginarium" with 3D technology and a "United Nations Room" with … [Read more...]

The Scan # 178 12 April 2016

TAFE does heavy lifting - TDA 12 April 2016   |    A TAFE Directors Australia (TDA)-commissioned analysis of official data reveals ‘for profit’ private training colleges have gained a massive 75% share of the $3 billion Commonwealth VET FEE-HELP funding, while the public TAFE sector continues to do the “heavy lifting”.  The performance of Australia’s 57 TAFE Institutes emerges strongly, dominating all major state and territory VET-funded ‘fields of education’ and trade apprenticeships. While TAFE delivered 63% of enrolments across the majority of fields of education, Commonwealth allocation of student loans to TAFE fell to just 20% in 2014, and the government’s own emergency legislation to … [Read more...]

The Scan # 177 17 March 2016

News ______________________________________________________ Fed takeover of VET unlikely 14 March 2016   |   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.  While education Simon Birmingham has strongly advocated a Commonwealth takeover,  Ryan says there are strong arguments to maintain the current system. Ryan said redesigning the troubled VET FEE-HELP scheme - which has blown … [Read more...]

Collaboration and the case for certainty

University Australia's election agenda 17 March 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… In this extract from his  speech to the recent Universities Australia Conference (which was mainly about research, innovation and collaboration),  Universities Australia's chair Barney Glover sets out in broad terms the university sector’s policy agenda for this election year. He prefaced his comments with the observation that the sector has been subject almost 2 years of policy insecurity and uncertainty which has taken a toll on the ability of universities to plan and allocate resources (it’s actually more like 4 years, taking into account the churn that was going on in the latter days of the … [Read more...]

The year to date

11 March 2016 There’s a lot to catch up with but, as they say, plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose (which is, according to the estimable Wiktionary, an epigram by Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr in the January 1849 issue of his journal Les Guêpes (“The Wasps”), meaning “the more it changes, the more it’s the same thing.”)  VET FEE-HELP   As previously reported, changes to the VET FEE-HELP (VFH)  scheme legislated late last year provides some better protection of students from the carpetbaggers who have looted the scheme and dudded the students.  The government proposes to spend this year look at ways to rort-proof it from the likes of Phoenix.  But as so many people have asked: how … [Read more...]

With Gonski gone, we can expect more demand for private schools

The government see private schools as the solution to quality 7 January 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… The government’s decision to end Gonski education reforms is a huge blow to the sector, writes Richard Teese (Victoria University) in The Conversation. It means funding for Australian schools is not guaranteed beyond 2017, and leaves Australian states in a funding limbo, not knowing where they stand. …………………………………………………………………………………….......…… Questions are being asked about where the extra funding will be found. Education minister Simon Birmingham has refused to say whether schools will get the full A$3.8bn in funding initially proposed. We are now looking at a … [Read more...]