TAFE Directors Australia

Supporting our member institutes since 1998

Newsletter 31 October 2011

International student numbers continue to spiral down

International student data for the September quarter confirms the downward spiral of student numbers in the VET sector.

This time last year, there were 113,843 international students studying a VET qualification in Australia; today there are 87,022 students representing a drop of 23.6%. This compares with an overall decline of 11.2% for all sectors.

While the September quarter showed a slight increase in the number of visas lodged - almost 4,000 more than for the same period last year - offshore lodgements accounted for only 1,000 of this increase.

Read the full story including a response from TDA here.

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New Visa Committee conducts first meeting – TDA represented

The implementation of recommendations from the Knight Review of Student Visas was discussed at the first meeting of the Education Visa Consultative Committee (EVCC) held last week in Canberra.

The meeting was chaired by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), and included representatives from all peak bodies, state and territory governments, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, and Austrade.

DIAC provided an update on their plans for implementing the Knight Review recommendations, the new arrangements for English language tests, and the latest student visa trends and statistics.

Readers should be aware that a number of the Knight recommendations will be implemented from 5 November. These include the reduction of financial requirements for students applying from Level 3 & 4 countries, the removal of English-level requirements for English language (ELICOS) applicants, and publication of criteria to establish whether applicants are genuine temporary entrants.

Read the full article here.

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TDA submission to Productivity Commission: COAG reforms require review

TDA has made a submission to the Productivity Commission, recommending it should assess how further contestability reforms will impact on the capability of the VET sector to improve labour force participation and productivity in its review of the impact of COAG reforms.

TDA’s submission to the Productivity Commission Background Paper also recommends that the Commission review the lessons learned from the Productivity Places Program, and the implications for the design of future skills programs.

Click here to view the submission.

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Scholarship links with transport industry to provide help to disadvantaged

A new partnership between the Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council (ISC) and the Mick Young Scholarship Trust (MYST) will help disadvantaged students gain much needed assistance to help them achieve a qualification in the transport and logistics industry.

The two organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) following the 2011 Mick Young Oration, delivered by the Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth, the Hon Peter Garrett MP.

TLISC CEO Robert Adams said that the organisation is looking to identify training opportunities within the transport and logistics industry that are designed to widen the uptake of training and logistics qualifications by financially disadvantaged students.

“Educational scholarships can play an important role in ensuring that all students can have access to their career of choice,” Mr Adams said. “The transport and logistics industry plays a vital role in Australia’s economic success and is facing its own challenges in ensuring its workforce is adequately prepared for the future. This initiative will boost the numbers of students wishing to improve their skill sets and gain employment within the industry.”


Robert Evans (CEO of Transport and Logistics ISC), Martin Riordan (CEO TDA, Trustee MYST), Janine Young (GM, MYST) and Ray Wilson, (Chair, MYST)


Click here to view a media release. Click here for more information on the MYST

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Contestability debate, Sydney, 14 November

TDA Emerging Leaders, TAFE management and staff, and departmental officials are invited to attend a ‘Thought Leaders’ forum to be held in Sydney on Monday, 14 November 2011.

The event will debate the issue of ‘contestability’ and the impact that reforms have had on the TAFE system in Victoria and other states that have undertaken the change.

Guest speakers will be:

  • David Williams, Executive Director, Victorian TAFE Association
  • Robin Booth, NSW Department of Education & Training
  • Pat Forward, Federal Secretary, Australian Education Union

The seminar will run from 3-5pm, with networking and refreshments from 5-6pm.  More information will be available soon.

If you would like to attend, please RSVP to, Susanna Palermo, via email: spalermo@tdc.vic.edu.au or ph: 03 9250 6011.

Meanwhile, the Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported that the Prime Minister, Hon Julia Gillard, will push ahead with an offer for widen FEE HELP to states and territories, if they sign to national VET reform and principles of entitlement to a widen student platform, within a National Partnership Agreement. In return, the Budget 2011 would release $1.75 billion to states and territories, but based on a contestable funding framework.

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Diplomas the link between VET and universities – Professor Anne Jones

Multisector universities should focus on providing diploma courses that link vocational courses to degrees, rather than providing courses at lower levels, according to an article by Professor Anne Jones from Victoria University.

Professor Jones says the focus should be on three transition points: apprenticeship-to-diploma, diploma-to-degree and diploma-to-postgraduate certificate and beyond.

“In each of these circumstances the diploma is the key to transition and in each, VET pedagogy has the power to support access into higher education,” she says.

Read the entire article here.

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The two-speed school system

Variability between school education providers is hiding the inadequacies within Australia’s schooling system, according to a new report.

‘Schooling challenges and opportunities - a report for the review of funding for schooling panel’, says the high level of variability in the school system relates to both quality and equity – not allowing people from all backgrounds to release their potential.

The report was written by a consortium comprising:  the Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE), the National Institute of Labour Studies (NILS) and Nous Group.

Click here to see the report.

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Serious problems with international education in Victorian universities

In a report tabled in the Victorian Parliament, Ombudsman, John Taylor, said there are serious problems within international education at Victorian Universities.

The problems mentioned in the report include attempts to bribe academics, plagiarism, passing students who should have failed and admitting students with English skills that are inadequate.

It makes 17 recommendations including changes to admission and assessment methods, and an independent risk assessment into cheating and bribery.

Click here to view the report. Click here to view an article from The Age.

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Diary Dates

DATE: 8-9 November, 2011
DETAILS: Click here for more information

DATE: 9-10 November, 2011
LOCATION: William Angliss Conference Centre, Melbourne
DETAILS: Click here for more information

Australasian Association for Institutional Research Forum “Let the sunshine in”
DATE: 9-11 November, 2011
LOCATION: Sea World Resort, Gold Coast
DETAILS: Click here for more information

Grounds for Learning Workshop
DATE: 14-16 November, 2011
LOCATION: Monash University, Clayton Campus, VICTORIA
DETAILS: Click here for more information

‘For innovation’
DATE: 18 November, 2011
LOCATION: The Glasshouse, Port Macquarie
DETAILS: Click here for more information

DATE: 25 November, 2011
LOCATION: Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, South Bank
DETAILS: Click here for more information

Quality in the Making
DATE: 27-28 February, 2012
LOCATION: Sofitel Hotel, Brisbane
DETAILS: Click here for more information

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