As a researcher and analyst in the vocational education and training (VET) sector, over the last five years I have monitored two very different worlds within the sector, and the two worlds seem to be growing even further apart.
Practitioners in TAFE may be surprised or even affronted by this question, but not so a number of State governments. Increasingly the answer seems to be a resounding ‘no’.
The purpose of an economy is to meet the aspirations of the society it serves, not the other way around.
Thus far TAFE advocates have lost the argument that TAFE has a vital and distinctive role as the public provider of Australian vocational education and training. The folly of this will be recognised, perhaps in 20 years, when the failures of purely marketised vocational education will be so obvious that they overcome the strong bipartisan ideological commitment to the market.