Why vocational education matters now more than ever
Anne Jones looks at how we can design education to nurture the capabilities needed for an active and equitable citizenship in a digital society.
Mix one part deregulation with one part government funding then sprinkle with a few thousand dollars of student loans and what is the result? A consumer protection disaster.
VET FEE-HELP is an income contingent loan scheme, introduced into the VET sector in 2008 as part of the Commonwealth’s Higher Education Loan Program (HELP). An income contingent loan scheme – the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) - was first introduced into Australia’s Higher Education sector under Education Minister John Dawkins in 1989. HECS has become HECS HELP in the Higher Education sector, and HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP and VET FEE-HELP are all administered under the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP).
The Abbott Government has been erratic in vocational education, as in many other areas, in its first 18 months of office. It started badly with early decisions to reduce quality controls, appoint supporters to key government advisory posts and further cut unions from contributing to policy on vocational education.
The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government supports TAFE NSW as the backbone of the State’s training system. TAFE is a dynamic organisation which sets the benchmark for quality and delivers the skills needed in a growing economy.
2013 was a terrible year for TAFE in Australia. It was the year that the funding cuts and the "reforms" really hit students, teachers and communities. But it was also the year when more and more people joined the campaign to defend public vocational education in TAFE.