The Group of Eight calls for a return to demand driven funding, but in a broader form. The Eight have allied with TAFE Directors Australia to make a case for DDF to include sub-degree courses, offered in both vocational and higher education systems.
“Student choice should be based on the fit of the course to their learning style and aspirations and not be distorted by inequitable funding and regulatory arrangements between sectors,” the Group of Eight’s Vicki Thomson says.
This is smart politics – while holding Labor to its commitment to restore the demand driven system it will appeal to the Opposition and allies’ advocacy of more money and higher standing for TAFE, often used by them as a synonym for training.
It’s also relatively risk-free for Go8 members – they are not the universities which would compete with VET colleges for diploma load. And it will not upset the next finance minister too much, if a bunch of people who would otherwise enrol in degrees were lured back to vocational colleges.
Until, that is, universities competing in the dip space start offering upskilling degrees and demand they be on load in the same way that professional masters can be now.