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Vocational training the real crisis, experts warn

The Australian, Sydney, 25 October 2017 - Vocational education and training must be the priority now that the Senate has canned the higher education reforms, experts say.

“There is no crisis in higher education (but) there has been a series of crises in vocational education,” said Gavin Moodie, an adjunct professor with RMIT. “Perhaps the most important issue confronting tertiary education is the relation between vocational and higher education.”

Last week the Nick Xenophon Team called for a comprehensive review of post-secondary education. Dr Moodie said any such inquiry must include the states. “The aim would not necessarily be to make the sectors more similar but to make the interface and interaction less dysfunctional.”

The Australian Council for Private Education and Training said the analysis could revisit funding processes that “can only be described as incoherent”.

TAFE Directors Australia said the package’s failure would be “a good outcome” if it meant the sector was examined “coherently”. Chief executive Craig Robertson said the Coalition risked being dismissed as “a government for the elite”. “What it has done for VET, which is pretty well nothing, signals that they don’t care for people who aspire to intermediate-level jobs,” he said.

University of Toronto researcher Leesa Wheelahan said the government proposal to uncap higher education diplomas, which “would have crippled TAFE even further”, demonstrated the danger of considering sectors in isolation.


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