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Issue #1676      March 11, 2015

Competitive market ruining TAFE

Australian Education Union (AEU) Victorian branch president Meredith Peace said the continued rorting in the system by private for-profit providers highlights the fact that the market model is not working and has failed the public TAFE system.

This year alone, around 2,500 students have had their substandard qualifications recalled, highlighting the need to dramatically improve quality assurance for government funded training. A further 3,000 students may face a similar outcome with investigations currently underway into their qualifications.

“The recall of training certificates is a clear indication that the competitive training market has been an absolute failure,” says Peace.

“The damage done to TAFEs in the pursuit of competition policy in education is continuing to have significant impact on the quality of courses delivered to Victorian students.

“This funding must look at avenues to ensuring there is guaranteed funding for the TAFE sector to uphold and protect high standards of education and training.”

The AEU is calling for 30 percent of the $1.2 billion funding for the sector to be made available to the contestable market, and the other 70 percent to be protected and dedicated to the public TAFE system.

“This review must also take the opportunity to examine the need for a minimum standard of hours required, which needs to be delivered by qualified teachers,” said Peace.

“Unscrupulous providers are decreasing the face-to-face teaching time with students, delivering qualifications that are not worth the paper they’re written on and will not get them the jobs they need. Students often do not understand they are being rorted until the damage is done.

“The push for contestability has also seen an increase in the sub-standard practices of third-party delivery, which should be investigated and immediately stopped by this review.

“The review must regulate for quality outcomes so that Victorian students have the skills they need and are job-ready when they gain their qualifications. This is significantly hindered by the contestable system we are currently in,” says Peace.

Next article – Govt blackmails Senate with science cuts

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