Taking a look back at this month’s Budget 2017-18 announcement, in which “boosted outcomes and opportunities for Australia’s education pathways” was outlined, it has been interesting to observe some positive proposed developments from the Federal government and the general industry discussion in response on the increasing importance of equity in education.
Before we dive into some links to conversations here in Australia, it is worthwhile noting that the United Nations has also highlighted equity in education as a serious topic globally. UN envoy Gordon Brown has warned that the world must act now to tackle the global education crisis with new financing, or by 2030 millions could potentially be graduating school without a basic education. The impact of the global refugee crisis on the education of millions of young people is also highlighted as an issue of immediate urgency for educators worldwide to consider.
On the home front, initiatives such as the Higher Education Reform Package and the new Skilling Australians Fund have been applauded, but some details remain hazy. Higher Education reporter for The Australian, John Ross relayed that:
“Training groups have applauded the unexpected windfall for vocational education…saying the scale of the $1.5 billion Skilling Australians Fund — and the requirement on states to match its allocations — generate a much-needed lifeline for the cash-strapped sector. However, there are concerns about whether all the promised funds will eventuate.”
Details of this new fund will be confirmed (hopefully) in the coming month. Acknowledging the package of positive measures, ACPET and the Council of Private Higher Education (COPHE) released a joint statement additionally outlining some concerns regarding potential lack of attention to disadvantaged students in the Higher Education Reform Package.
“It is pleasing that student experience, and outcomes are features of the reform package, however equity should also be at the heart of the design,” said Mr Rod Camm, CEO of ACPET.
We wholeheartedly concur, and look forward to positive progress with these industry reforms.
Judith Bowler, Educational Strategist & Founder