Regulatory wrangling for micro-credentials

Announcing is the easy bit

Minister for all things educational Stuart Robert says the government,” is embracing the rise of micro-credentials, which we see as playing a big role in flexible up-skilling of our workforce.”

They will play a bigger one if there is a universal definition of what they are, ways to measure what they do and specifications of content that will stop spivs selling shonkery badged as MCs. And if you don’t think that last one matters, ask a passing Finance official what the rorting of VET FEE HELP cost.

These are big issues which aren’t as yet addressed. While Universities Australia suggests three threshold standards that can help nothing is settled (CMM September 29).

Martin Bean and Peter Dawkins appear to get this. In their new report on university-industry teaching/learning collaboration they suggest, “learners are often overwhelmed as they attempt to navigate, compare, and gain recognition of these smaller credentials from employers or other providers. Discussions on how to improve recognition of micro-credentials are often stalled by the risk that increasing their regulation may have a negative impact on education and training providers’ ability to rapidly respond to new and emerging skills needs.’

And they propose a way to address issues, adopt the Noonan Review proposals to reform the Australian Qualifications Framework.

Specifically, the Commonwealth, states and territories should, “prioritise AQF reform … focusing on general capabilities, the AQF architecture, credit pathways, and principles for institutions that wish to align micro-credentials to qualification types and credit pathways.”

Problem is that doing this would require a bunch of boring through hard boards policy work, for which governments have evinced no apparent enthusiasm. It’s two years to the day since the Commonwealth accepted all the HE recommendations in the Noonan Review (CMM December 10 2019). But accepting is not enacting.