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Australia to finance new microcredentials from old funding

John Ross, Asia Pacific Editor — 7 December 2021


Article Extract:

Australia’s government will allow universities and colleges to use unspent money to bankroll next year’s crop of short courses, including “innovative” microcredentials developed for both local and overseas consumption.

The government has allocated A$24.5 million (£13 million) for tertiary education providers to create and teach new mini-courses, and another A$8 million for Australian industry to develop up to 70 “globally relevant” microcredentials for delivery overseas.

The government also allocated about A$26 million in the May federal budget to fund non-university higher education providers to offer an extra 5,000 short course places. But the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA) said procedural issues had stymied take-up of the courses.

Chief executive Troy Williams said independent higher education providers were unable to recruit students for federally funded programmes until the funding had been confirmed. “Unfortunately, as the government was late in issuing contracts, providers were unable to advertise the courses,” he said.

Mr Williams welcomed the extension but said ITECA would focus on “securing a sustainable funding model” for the certificates. “To date, the undergraduate certificates have been supported by a series of one-off announcements by the Australian government,” he said. “This has made it hard for independent higher education providers to plan…over anything but the short-term.”

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