Vouchers won't fix the TAFE system
Jennifer Westacott and the Business Council of Australia’s proposals for Education and Skills released at the National Press Club today are another disappointing suggestion that fails to recognise the very real issues facing vocational education in this country.
Pat Forward: This is a big move for you, but it’ll be a big loss for the Australian TAFE system. You been a big supporter of the TAFE system and you’re also a product of the TAFE system?
Alistair Mant’s 1991 book, Intelligent Leadership introduced the metaphor of a frog and a bicycle to analyse organisational systems. Mant suggested 'bicycle' systems are those whose individual components can be taken apart and put back together without any damage.
In the last few weeks, there were several stories in the mainstream media which shone a light on the debacle unfolding in the TAFE system in Australia. The Australian ran a story called “Graphic illustration of fee madness” about the escalation of fees for higher level qualifications in TAFE in the ACT - $27,000 for an Advanced Diploma in Graphic Design. It also ran a story about “providers” – public and private - “gaming” the VET system in Victoria by inflating study loads in order to increase government funding.
This issue came to light recently when my son received a notice from CIT advising him that his debt from semester one of the Diploma of Graphic Design course was $7,128. This prompted a detailed investigation of the fees, and comparison with other course providers.
Today, in my role as a Social Worker I needed to liaise with the head of department at one of our major TAFEs regarding a student who was having a lot of difficulty.