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Institutional differentiation in Australian higher education

15 May 2017 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… There is general consensus in the higher education literature that institutional differentiation is desirable (Meek et al, 1996; van Vught 2007). More diverse systems tend to perform better because they meet diverse student needs, are better equipped to stimulate social mobility through different access points and progression pathways, are better linked to labour markets that increasingly require different types of graduates, and allow for more cost-effective delivery of both education and research through specialisation. Concerns about the capacity of the Australian Unified National System to lead to diversity have been raised since it … [Read more...]

Tertiary education: where to from here?

Melbourne University Newsoom     |    27 February 2017 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… The future of Australia’s tertiary education sector is the subject of a new collection of essays by some of the country’s leading education researchers. …………………………………………………………………………………….......……   Produced by the Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne, Visions for Australian Tertiary Education, presents a progressive and provocative agenda for transforming tertiary education in this country. Twenty-six authors, including 18 from the University of Melbourne, have contributed to the volume’s 12 chapters that discuss, among other things, … [Read more...]

Federal Budget 2017

The Conversation | 9 May 2017   Students interrupted Simon Birmingham’s speech on planned higher education reforms. Katina Curtis/AAP University fees and cuts Gwilym Croucher, Senior Lecturer in the Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education, University of Melbourne: The government has confirmed the package of changes it announced a week ago with significant cuts. Students in particular will pay more, a lot more. Student contributions will increase by 1.8% each year between 2018 and 2021 for a total 7.5% increase. This means they will pay 46%, instead of 42%, of the cost of their degree on average. So, for a four-year course, this is an increase in total student fees of … [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...]

How generous is Australia’s FEE-HELP scheme?

11 April 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… With debate growing over burgeoning FEE-HELP debt, education minister Simon Birmingham has asserted that Australia runs one of the most generous student loan schemes in the world.  Overall, this is true, with three key features: the relatively high income threshold before repayments kick in; the zero real interest rate; and relatively low repayment rates.  However, while the income threshold is much lower than in England and New Zealand, for example, FEE-HELP repayments are calculated on a debtor’s entire income, while in other countries repayments are based on income above the threshold. And New Zealand charges no interest at all for … [Read more...]

Election 2016: Higher education and VET issues

News items,  statements, analysis and commentary   The election outcome There's really not much to say, is there?  TDA summed it up from a tertiary education perspective, saying the uncertainty of the vote itself  is compounded by a curious lack of policy commitment from the Coalition, which did not release any skills policy or higher education  policy during the campaign.....[ READ MORE ].... Labor Of its "100 positive policies",  about 20% (19 to be precise) are in tertiary education.  In higher education, Labor has committed to maintaining the demand driven system, backed up by a Student Funding Guarantee to provide "certainty to universities and remove the … [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...]

The state of VET in Australia

A fractured system 16 March 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… In a policy paper, VET funding in Australia: Background trends and future directions, Peter Noonan from Victoria University’s Mitchell Institute says the low priority traditionally accorded the vocational sector has been exacerbated in recent years by wild inconsistencies between states on what they funded and for how much, ad hoc federal funding programs, rorting and distortions caused by VET FEE-HELP and the relentless push to reduce costs for both levels of government. …………………………………………………………………………………….......…… While there are 200,000 more VET enrolments than there were 10 years ago, enrolments have been trending … [Read more...]

VET funding in Australia

Background trends and future directions Mitchell Institute Policy Paper Executive summary The vocational education and training (VET) system in Australia plays a central role in the development of skills for the Australian workforce and makes a critical contribution to workforce participation, productivity levels, individual’s  life chances and economic and social development. The level of public and private investment in VET is therefore an important public policy issues. Historical overview Since 1974 the Commonwealth and state governments in Australia have jointly funded the development and expansion of Australia’s VET system. They have done so in the following phases. The … [Read more...]

TAFE Directors Australia – Newsletter Newsletter 28 September 2015

In this edition Commonwealth takeover of VET would hurt TAFE, federal opposition says Tasmania to invest in skills for seasonal industries Canberra Institute to deliver technology courses in India Students planning class action against Evocca College Book now for Australian Training Awards TAFE teachers battle out prestigious language, literacy and numeracy award TAFE study tour to Singapore and South Korea Australia-Pacific Technical College seeking country manager for Papua New Guinea Diary Dates Commonwealth takeover of VET would hurt TAFE, federal opposition says The federal government’s proposal for a Commonwealth takeover of … [Read more...]