In a far-ranging to submission to a Productivity Commission review of funding in the vocational education and training (VET) sector, the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA) has highlighted the challenges associated with separate funding and loan frameworks in the higher education system. In doing so, ITECA has called for the Australian Government to act and move towards a more integrated tertiary education system.
Key Issues —
In its submission, ITECA has highlighted that students and their employers would be well served by the evolution of a more integrated tertiary education system. This would see the higher education sector plus the VET sector operate as one, while retaining their separate identities and strengths.
From the perspective of students, the entry and exit points for the higher education sector and the VET sector can be bewildering. Decisions made by students are complicated by two different loan programs and more than 30 different subsidised training arrangements.
ITECA has argued that the current arrangements also don’t serve independent tertiary education providers well with different regulators and the different student funding arrangements and loan programs creating compliance challenges.
“We’ve taken the feedback from ITECA members and used it to strengthen the case put to the Productivity Commission as to why reform is needed. It’s been great to have the ITECA members so actively engaged in this lobbying activity,” said Troy Williams, ITECA Chief Executive.
The National Federation Reform Council (NFRC), formerly the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), has clearly identified the need for reform, recognising in August 2019 that VET and higher education are equal and integral parts of Australia’s post-secondary education system. The goal is for a system that acts as one, but in which the higher education sector and the vocational education sector retain their separate identities. This distinction is critical. Such a cohesive tertiary education model is one that supports students throughout their working lives, free from the hassle of navigating the disparate higher education, training and skills sectors. This is significant reform, requiring a substantial structural and cultural shift in Australia’s tertiary education system.
ITECA is to meet with the Productivity Commission in August 2020 to articulate the case for a more integrated tertiary education system.
For independent tertiary education providers that support more than 74 per cent of the 4.1 million students undertaking VET plus about 10 per cent of the 1.5 million students in higher education, different regulators and funding models create a compliance nightmare, and red tape is pervasive.
Getting Involved —
ITECA’s ability to play a lead role in matters associated with this issue rests on the advice and guidance of individuals serving on the the ITECA Higher Education Reference Committee and the ITECA Vocational Education and Training Reference Committee. ITECA Membership – It's a great time to get involved.
Further Information —
If you're an ITECA member and would like more information on this matter, the ITECA team would value the opportunity to talk to you. Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 1300 421 017. Stay up to date via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
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IHEA Independent Higher Education Council Australia