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 Abbott-Turnbull Coalition and Shorten Labor are at last taking the outrageous and hugely expensive scams of VET FEE-HELP more seriously. Both Government and Opposition are proposing to supplement their piecemeal changes since the scandals started attracting damaging publicity from 2011.
Markets have been introduced into different parts of the education sector, with the promise that they will provide greater choice and diversity. They are also expected to allocate public resources more efficiently.
The VET sector is in crisis. Australia must guarantee 70% of VET funding to TAFE, and shut down the VET FEE-HELP scheme.
A proposed Federal Government takeover of Vocational Education and Training which would see TAFEs privatised and fees for students raised is scheduled for discussion at the COAG meeting today.
TAFE provides opportunity and people seeking asylum in our community are living proof of this. For Tanya, who was a lawyer in Colombia, training at TAFE for an aged care qualification has made a huge difference to finding her feet in Australia.