By close of play Friday almost all post school education lobbies had welcomed Labor’s VET – HE review. Even the private training provider group got on board, perhaps on the general principle that smiling at one’s enemies makes them feel unreasonably secure. But for all the positive responses, the university sector is congenitally cautious of any plan which could cost it money. As the always smiling Belinda Robinson from Universities Australia put it;
“it’s crucial that the starting point for this discussion is an understanding that it is not an ‘either/or’ between TAFE and higher education. Universities want and need a strong TAFE and vocational educational system. The greatest tragedy would be if this debate were to lead to an ‘us vs them’ discussion. I encourage every stakeholder in this debate to understand the different but complementary roles that the component parts of our tertiary education system play.”
Labor education spokesperson Tanya Plibersek is speaking at UA’s conference on Thursday – the audience will be smiling intently.