Big ideas from the Full Service Six

There’s a policy voice, with big ideas for all of tertiary education

A new  policy paper from Australia’s six dual sector universities warns ideas of a single tertiary education system involve, “risks in terms of the cost and complexity of system integration and the loss of differentiation and diversity. They are also not likely to be agreed by the states and territories in relation to their roles in VET.”

The six are CQU, RMIT, Victoria U, Federation U, Swinburne U and Charles Darwin U.

They make their case as “the only ‘full-service’ providers” in a new policy paper that positions for them for a widely-anticipated round of post-secondary reforms, whichever side wins the imminent election. Labor is committed to a comprehensive review in office and the government has already announced an initiative from the Joyce training review, released on budget night.  The Noonan Review of the Australian Qualification Framework is already underway.

The Full Service Six set out four policy principles, as the basis of a COAG agreed policy framework.

AQF reform: “students should have options to supplement their primary qualification by choosing units from a range of VET and higher education offerings”

VET Qualifications:  less focus on narrow occupational competence and more on “underpinning” knowledge, skills and capabilities

Coherent state and federal funding framework: This could include a whole of system income contingent loan scheme, Canberra funding all AQF level five, six courses and pathway programmes, “revitalisation and renewal of TAFE,” and return of demand driven funding for higher education

Extending work-based learning and industry partnerships: apprenticeships at all AQF levels

The Six call for “a shared effort across sectors and institutions that have been historically separated by policy, jurisdiction and tradition,” adding they are “uniquely positioned to contribute constructively to the next stages of this shared agenda.”


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