Some part-thoughts regarding private sector programs.
Questions surrounding the quality of private sector programs were raised in 2015 when multiple private colleges collapsed across the Nation. Campuses in Victoria, Adelaide, Sydney and Queensland were implicated affecting thousands of students and in some cases this resulted in a recall of qualifications (see also Victoria State Government Statement on Entitlement Restoration). In March 2015 the federal government sought to crackdown on the industry and the ACCC announced it was preparing to prosecute training providers after serious allegations of bad behaviour and "rampant abuse".
Instability in the market and the focus on the pursuit of profit over education and welfare is not new, with closures of colleges in Melbourne and Sydney implicating nearly 3,000 students in 2009, hundreds in Perth and Brisbane in 2011 and 12,000 students in 2015 as a consequence of the focus on the "export education industry".
Current events, such as the collapse of Global Intellectual Holdings which includes Asprie College of Education, The Design Works College of Design, RTO Services Group and the Australian Indigenous College, further illustrate the challenges and pressures facing this troubled sector. Reforms to the VET FEE-HELP government financial assistance scheme have been blamed for much of the problems with many colleges offering what appear to be 'free' or 'no fee' paying courses and using a variety of tactics to entice and enrol students. In light of this recent disruption, Federal Minister for Vocational Education and Skills Nationals MP, Luke Hartsukyer has outlined that the government is committed to reform of the system and a new VET Fee-Help system is planned for 2017.
Ultimately, though, what is needed is a greater awareness in the broader community of the differing pathways into high quality adult, vocational, TAFE and higher education. This information is needed to ensure students (international and domestic) are not misguided by private training colleges and are correctly informed of the options available to them as well as the quality of the educational qualification they are seeking.
Higher Education providers such as Griffith University spend a significant amount of time investing in quality and regulatory measures, such as strict entry requirements, student support and student welfare issues. The higher education sector is acutely aware of the challenges facing future graduates and this is reflected in the focus on graduate capabilities first and foremost with an education-centric model driving the agenda.
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Victoria State Government, Further Education and Training. http://www.education.vic.gov.au/training/learners/vet/Pages/restore.aspx