Increase funding to TAFE, not more student loans
As the unfolding funding catastrophe in TAFE and vocational education was revealed again this week, it has elicited calls from those who have been at the forefront of the introduction of Income Contingent Loans into the sector to further expand them to lower level VET qualifications. As the magnitude of this disaster unfolds, it makes no sense that those at the forefront of the creation of a VET market espouse a further shift of funding responsibility for the sector onto individual students.
The 2017 Federal Budget delivered nothing for TAFE or TAFE students, and is a continuation of the Turnbull Government’s attack on the sector, and its failure to provide policy leadership or support.
Australian vocational education is beset by several big problems that have accumulated and enlarged over decades.
The VET sector is in crisis. Australia must guarantee 70% of VET funding to TAFE, and shut down the VET FEE-HELP scheme.
In the current debate around vocational education and amidst the growing concern about the activities of the private sector, a proposal to extend VET FEE-HELP to lower level VET qualifications has emerged.
There are few propositions on which agreement is more general than the proposition that education is crucial to the development of a prosperous community with a high standard of living.