Thursday, December 17, 2015

Victorian VET Funding Review

A Victorian VET Funding Review by Bruce Mackenzie and Neil Coulson, was released September 2015 (incorrectly dated February 2016 on the Victorian Government website). The report had as its first recommendation:
"1) That the Victorian Government work with the Commonwealth Government to consider the applicability of reforms to the fee-for-service and VET FEE-HELP markets."
However, a major failing of the report is that it diplomatically skirts around the way the flaws in the design of the Commonwealth's VET FEE-HELP scheme has distorted the VET market, wasted public money and damaged the reputation of Australian Higher Education.

The report recommends keeping additional funding for regional training:

"12) That the Government maintain a rural and regional loading to reflect the relatively higher costs involved in rural and regional training provision."

But the report fails to consider the value of on-line training to provide access for regional student, as well as those with work or family commitments, which prevent regular campus attendance.

The report proposes that the student contribution increase the higher the level of qualification:
"18) That the Government adopt the principle that the student contribution increase the higher the level of qualification."
It is not clear why the student contribution should increase with level of qualification. In fact there is no clear explanation in the report as to why VET courses should be subsidized for students who can afford to pay. There is a case for subsidizing courses where there is a shortage of skills and for students on low incomes.

The report recommends limiting Recognition of Prior Learning to 40%:
"36) That the Government limit RPL to no more than 40 per cent of the course volume."
This would have caused me problems, when I obtained 80% of a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment by RPL. I already had a Graduate Certificate in Higher Eduction and years of experience teaching at a university and an award from industry for course design. It would have been frustrating to sit in classes on something I could already do.

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