Policy people are contemplating what to say to Peter Noonan and colleagues who are reviewing the Australian Qualifications Framework. Updating the complex, cumbersome AQF is generally considered a big and difficult deal but there is a sense it needs to adapt to flexible leaning outside formal course structures. As the Innovative Research Universities puts it in paper circulating prior to its policy response to the panel, “an effective AQF … should provide a coherent context for the breadth of tertiary education and training – whereby the relationship of all activity to other education options is clear – and only then should worry at the correct application of its formal statements.”
The IRU sees a strong case for the AQF including short-form credentials, which could include MOOCs, for it to be relevant to realities in the training market. “There is significant activity and growth. Allowing major education offerings outside the AQF reduces its value and could have negative impact on qualifications within and without the AQF.”
But to avoid overwhelming regulators, short-courses could be covered by the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency registration and monitoring of providers.
“The challenge is to do so in a way that provides a clear context-positioning for those other courses without overwhelming operations of providers or regulators. It need not involve adding qualification types to the AQF but could simply be to recognise in the framing statements that these exist and have a purpose.”