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Newsletter | 5 December 2016

In this edition


Minister Birmingham succeeds with crackdown on private college rorting of student loans

The Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham successfully pushed through parliament last week a comprehensive crackdown on private colleges after a $3 billion loss to taxpayers under the VET FEE-HELP student loan program.

However, along with backpacker tax and the legislation establishing a building industry watchdog, the government was forced to accept a range of compromises, including a provision that TAFEs, not-for-profits and private colleges may seek application for loans for employment-related courses.

An eleventh-hour capitulation by the Nick Xenophon team senators prompted the changes, and scuttled a Labor and Greens amendment giving TAFE a 12-month exemption from the crackdown aimed at private colleges.

TDA Chief Executive Martin Riordan said the NXT senators had been persuaded by a letter from Minister Birmingham that sought to play down concerns over restrictions on eligible courses under the legislation.

TDA will be seeking to work with the department on the terms of the minister's offer to Senator Xenophon and his team on the details of the compromise provisions.

See TDA's media release.

See a letter from Minister Birmingham to NXT Senator Stirling Griff

Grattan Institute proposes a 15% loan fee for all tertiary borrowers

A 15 per cent fee on all new tertiary education loans could save the Commonwealth $700 million a year and make the Higher Education Loan Program more affordable for government, according to a new Grattan Institute report.

The report, 'Shared interest' argues that a universal loan fee for HELP would offset the government’s interest costs, while being fair to all students and preserving the loan program’s social goals.

Grattan Institute Higher Education Program Director Andrew Norton said that since its introduction in 1989, HELP has greatly expanded access to tertiary education.

But he warned that with $52 billion of HELP debt outstanding the government has to find ways to control its costs.

A 15 per cent universal loan fee would replace the existing fees – of 25 and 20 per cent respectively – paid by full-fee undergraduate and vocational education students.

"Postgraduate and government-supported students currently pay no loan fee. Charging some students high loan fees and other students no loan fees is unfair and has no policy rationale," the report says.

See more.

TDA 2017 Convention save the date

TDA is delighted to announce that the 2017 TDA Convention – Network TAFE -  will be held in Adelaide, South Australia from 7-8 September, 2017, with the Welcome Reception on 6 September.

To express interest in sponsoring or exhibiting please email tda@pco.com.au.

More details will follow in early 2017.

TAFE delivers training workshop to India institution leaders

TDA led a delegation of Australian TAFE leaders to India in late November to deliver the first phase the Australian Indian VELT Program 2016/17. 

The delegation, led by TDA's Jen Bahen, and with representation from Queensland, NSW, ACT and Victoria, delivered a three-day mentoring workshop on key aspects of the Australian training system to 120 Indian delegates.

Delegates came from across India, and uniquely, from different types of vocational institutions under the auspices of three different government departments. 

During the second phase of the project, to be conducted in late February and early March, 20 Indian participants will visit Australian institutions for week-long mentoring programs.

Indian institutions have been asked to submit proposals identifying what they would like to achieve in Australia. A merit based process will be used to select the 20 participants.

The delegation also conducted an industry engagement roundtable with selected institutions. Their industry partners, undertook site visits to institutions and met with senior representatives from the University Grants Commission, the Ministry of Skills Development and Entrepreneurship, and the All Indian Council for Technical Education. 

Thanks to all TAFE representatives for their time, dedication and enthusiasm, as well as thanks for the Australian Department of Education and Training.

TDA would also like to thank the education team from the Australian High Commission in Delhi for their tremendous support of the workshop.   


Most young people in education or training

Of the 1.5 million young Australians aged 15 to 19, an overwhelming 83.4% were enrolled in education and training at August 2015, according to latest NCVER figures:

  • 56.8% were at school
  • 16.1% were enrolled in higher education
  • 4.5% were undertaking an apprenticeship or trraineeship, which was not part of a VET in Schools program
  • 5.9% were enrolled in other VET programs.

From 2014 to 2015 there was a 5% decrease in apprenticeship and traineeship commencements, but a 7% increase in apprentice and trainee students attending school.

University continues to be the popular choice for those pursuing further education, with nearly one-in-three (32.5%) 19 year olds enrolled in higher education courses, with 9.5% undertaking traineeships and apprenticeships, and 11.1% enrolled in other VET programs.

For total VET, Certificate II had the largest student enrolment (39.0% of total enrolments) for 2015, followed by Certificate III (30.4%).

There was a 9.5% fall in the number of government-funded VET students to 378,400.

In government-funded VET, Management and Commerce attracted the most enrolments in 2015, but the number was down 18.5 per cent over the year and has almost halved since 2011.

See more

Diary Dates

2016 National Conference on VET Teaching and VET Teacher Education
Australian Council of Deans of Education Vocational Education Group 
8 - 9 December, 2016
More information

2017 TDA Convention - Network TAFE
7 - 8 September, 2017
More information coming soon


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