Two-speed education reform: HE rockets along, not so AQF

Government can do a lot or not much in a year

While legislation looms for the new higher education provider standards there’s not much action on enacting the AQF review.

A learned reader points out tomorrow is the first anniversary of the federal government committing to all recommendations in the review of the Australian Qualifications Framework by Peter Noonan and colleagues.  And then on December 10 last Education Minister Dan Tehan announced the government accepted the recommendations of Peter Coaldrake’s review of higher education provider category standards and would get cracking on consultation. Which was duly done – if the resulting bill does not pass the Senate this week it will as soon as parliament returns

But as for the AQF review, changes based on its findings have not happened. As the learned reader laments; “where is the AQF implementation at?  There is little public evidence it has gone anywhere, there was meant to be an implementation committee.”

Which is a problem; “the AQF Review was seen as critical to both higher education and VET, being foundational to national qualifications and training products, funding and financing, HE/VET boundaries and institutional positioning.”

An adept of the AQF responds that things are happening – that Mr Tehan’s COVID-19 response, six month graduate certificates, are a practical outcome to issues the review addressed, what with the way they “may be used to articulate into an existing qualification at AQF levels five, six or seven.”

But the review put much, much, more on the policy table – where it remains. “The Productivity Commission’s report of the National Skills and Workforce Development Agreement is delayed to be released in early 2021, and it would have been far better placed had the AQF implementation been further advanced,” CMM’s learned reader laments.

“This is highly regrettable as it’s lynchpin to a better integrated tertiary education system and any ‘COVID-crisis’ proffered as reason for lack of progress is a thin excuse.”