Reaching the end of quite a turbulent year, and sometimes it’s very much a case of looking back to the past to see the way forward for the future. I had an interesting discussion recently with Claire Field of Claire Field & Associates as a guest on her industry podcast ‘What Now? What Next? Insights into Australia’s tertiary sector’ on the topics of ‘What ASQA should do differently’
While talking about what steps the current industry regulator ASQA could take to improve its service and relationships with RTO providers, we ended up reflecting on the progressive approach NARA (National Audit and Registration Agency) had taken way back in 2008 when it was launched by then Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
We were astounded at how simple it would be for ASQA to take a look back and emulate the five key features of the NARA model:
- Client Relationship Managers
- Quality Consultants
- Audit Fact Sheets
- Workshops, breakfasts and professional development
Take a look for yourself and try not to weep. The solution could just be so simple >>
Personally I am deeply concerned and saddened that in the current regulatory environment in our industry we seem to have completely lost our way in actually delivering engaging learning experiences. We are merely focused on ticking boxes, passing the audit and getting on with the tedious delivery of rote-learning that has become the norm. It’s as dry as biscuits, and things need to change.
So we welcome the breeze of change that blew in this December as we lurched to the finishing line of 2019. A new future for VET and higher education has been envisioned by the Federal government and the Morrison government has accepted all the recommendations and aims of the review of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), headed by Professor Peter Noonan.
“We are providing structure and clarity to vocational education and higher education to reflect the real world,” said Minister for Education Dan Tehan. “We want to make it easier for Australians to move between vocational training and higher education and to earn microcredential qualifications that will improve their productivity.
Recommendations that have been accepted include:
- Senior secondary students can study subjects at school that count towards a vocational training qualification or university degree.
- Recognition of microcredentials to allow providers to offer short, highly targeted courses.
- VET and higher education to have clear and flexible entry and exit points, as well as pathways within and between, to allow students to mix and match the subjects they study to meet their education requirements.
Let’s cross our fingers for good luck in 2020 and it’s my sincere hope that Australian learners’ sense of curiosity is reignited and that we once again become known as an innovative and forward-thinking country.