Productivity Commission research figures show Australia is not doing as well on skills and education as oft assumed. The commission reports that, after a decade of growth, the per centage of 18-24 year olds with Y12 or a certificate III fell last year, to just over 86 per cent, a couple of per cent down on ’16 and below trend. And the country is behind the national objective to reduce the per cent of adults without a certificate III or better from 45 per cent in 2010 to 25 per cent in 2020. This year’s figure is just under 40 per cent, 10 per cent worse than planned. Higher qualification completions aren’t terrific either, peaking at 88 000 in 2012 and falling to 57 000 in January 2016.
But not to worry, all five performance indicators of skill reform set by government are met.
None of this is likely to surprise Peter Noonan and Sarah Pilcher from Victoria U’s Mitchell Institute (CMM April 23) who warn, “if participation rates in higher education and VET in Australia fall as the population increases there will be fewer people of prime working age who can effectively participate in the labour market in the future.”