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Tomorrow's ministerial council should attend to quality in vocational education.

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Tomorrow's Ministerial Council Should Attend To Quality In Vocational Education

New Report Highlights Further Concerns

Kim Carr - Parliamentary Secretary for Education

Media Statement - 29 June 2000

A new review of the Victorian vocational education system by Ms Kaye Schofield highlights the failure of the Commonwealth to provide an adequate national framework and rigorous quality assurance standards, according to Labor Senator Kim Carr, Labor's Parliamentary Secretary for Education.

The Victorian review is the third in a series by Ms Schofield - following from earlier reviews of the Queensland and Tasmanian systems. Senator Carr said that the report highlighted the widespread concern across Australia about the quality and integrity of the vocational education system.

The Victorian report, released yesterday, notes:

Deep-seated and widespread anxieties about poor quality training must be dealt with and a shared understanding of where the system is heading needs to be developed. ●

Senator Carr said that Schofield had emphasised the strengths of the Victorian TAFE system, and had noted that on the whole employers and students were satisfied with the services delivered. "But Schofield identifies a series of factors that have led to grave doubts about the general quality of training," he said. These included:

The rapid and significant growth of traineeships through the Commonwealth's New Apprenticeship System; ●

The introduction of the competitive "User Choice" system; ● The introduction of Training Packages to deliver training; ● The negative consequences of the employer incentive scheme associated with the Commonwealth's New Apprenticeships; and ●

Unethical and fraudulent behaviour of some organisations involved in training. ●

The Victorian report also draws attention to the lack of a strong Quality Assurance framework at the national level, which would guarantee the integrity of vocational education and the credentials associated with it. "The report emphasises that these problems can only be solved by cooperation between the Commonwealth and the States through the Australian National Training Authority [ANTA] processes," Senator Carr said.

"As State Ministers and the Commonwealth prepare for tomorrow's crucial Ministerial Council meeting, where a new ANTA agreement will be discussed, the Commonwealth must

assume responsibility for the failure of quality and of confidence in Australia's vocational education and TAFE system," he said.

"The Commonwealth must commit itself to the provision of adequate funding for growth in demand for TAFE, and to a radical revamping of its approach to Quality Assurance and planning in the system."

Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.