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Reflecting on the death of Bob Hawke, the 23rd prime minister of Australia, on the eve of the federal election and contemplating a Morrison government, causes me to think that we’ve lost sight of the heavy lifting VET can do for the economy.
Several weeks ago I said my aspiration for VET, well TAFEs at least, was for high value, high trust. These words rang true this past week in our study tour of Canada and the US, supported by our industry partners, CISCO and Optus. The tour included meetings with colleges in both countries, with national and provincial government officials and CISCO’s technology leads.
In last week’s newsletter I said I’d explore the dimensions of competency-based training (CBT), triggered by my discomfort that competency-based education appears ready as the breakthrough for North American tertiary education.
I still remember the look of surprise in response to my show of disdain.
This Easter weekend has seen a welcome reprieve from electioneering, even though we are only just over 20 per cent of the way through.
Australia’s education diplomacy seems to have become a disposable commodity, if the decision of the Morrison Government to terminate the Endeavour Leadership Program is any indication.
You may be expecting this week views on the Joyce Review. His insights and recommendations deserve longer reflection than the five days since its release have allowed.
TAFE Directors Australia is today announcing its manifesto for the future of tertiary education and for restoring balance between universities and TAFEs. It reflects the spirit of the 1970s Kangan report which laid the foundation for the TAFE model – engagement with community, development of knowledge and skills to grow jobs and the economy leading from the self-actualisation of the individual through proper vocational education.
There are sweet spots in life. For me it’s the return of the men’s AFL (Australian Football League for our international readers -– Australia’s national obsession which some describe as a cross between Grid Iron without the protective gear, world football and ping-pong – go figure!). The season really started eight weeks ago when AFLWomen’s kicked-off.
The law of international trade says that countries export those goods and services they can produce efficiently and in excess of domestic demand, and in return import from countries which can produce and ship other items more cheaply. It’s no surprise, therefore, that Australia’s trade culture grew out of our agriculture industry given we didn’t have the population to consume the bounty of our wide agricultural lands.
Those who hold dear our apprenticeship and traineeship model would have been distressed this past week surveying NCVER’s latest quarterly (September 2018) figures for this the most formal part of vocational education and training in Australia.
Earle Page, 11th Prime Minister of Australia (albeit for 19 days) was the first to venture fiscally into state affairs. He was concerned about the repair of the roads in his electorate. “They are dangerous and hamper farmers getting produce to markets,” you could imagine him saying as Treasurer to his cabinet colleagues. Thus was born in the 1923 Budget, the economic and social imperative and political spillovers which have characterised Commonwealth intervention ever since.
Tomorrow marks five weeks to the federal Budget. In between we expect Steven Joyce to release his report on the review of VET in Australia.
I was privileged on Friday to be the guest of the Chinese Ambassador to Australia, His Excellency Mr Cheng, in the celebration of 40 years of China’s opening to the world.
A federal takeover of VET was raised again this week, fuelled by submissions to the Joyce Review. To be fair, the call is for national VET coordination, and for harmonisation of funding and regulation for higher education and VET. I argue, be careful what you wish for.
A report sent to me last week on degree apprenticeships in England points to the challenges we’ll have here in Australia in establishing a tertiary education system. Whether it’s a tertiary system (unified in governance, regulation, funding and esteem), an eco-system of co-existing or co-dependent parts, or better-connected vocational education and training and higher education is up for debate here in Australia.
On Saturday we celebrated the results of inclusion, but I trust we also contemplated the impact of exclusion, and dispossession.Around 16,000 residents swore allegiance to Australia and took new citizenship. It took over two centuries for the descendants of the 700,000 inhabitants of the land when it was claimed by Captain Cook to be recognised as citizens and their ownership of the land recognised.
2019 offers change, and hope, more than many a year. A new federal government will be in place mid-year led by Bill Shorten or Scott Morrison. Labor’s once-in-a generation review of post-school education holds major promise – a serious investigation to set up tertiary education for the demands facing Australia. The quick-fire review of VET offered by Morrison will have to be just that. Nevertheless, although somewhat belated, the attention is welcome.