Driving innovation, fairness and applied learning in Australian higher education
TDA’s submission was developed through consultation with TDA members from TAFE higher education providers (HEPs) and dual sector universities. It includes references to a benchmarking study commissioned by TDA in early 2016 which examined policy settings for non-university providers in six OECD countries.
Throughout this submission, TDA calls for greater recognition and support of non-university providers in Commonwealth higher education policy and funding reform. Our TAFE HEPs are critical to increasing diversity, equity and financial stability in the higher education system and, most importantly, to improving outcomes for students and industry, as other countries have done.
While TDA understands and acknowledges that fiscal sustainability of tertiary education is a high priority for the Commonwealth, and the current system requires significant change, we call for a broader debate about the future of the postcompulsory education sector. To date, too much rhetoric in the sector has focused on the status quo of universities. Not enough attention has been given to the importance of TAFE’s applied higher education model to Australia’s future workforce development.
Australia needs a more integrated tertiary education sector that accelerates pathways between vocational and higher education, brings wider opportunities for equity students and motivates providers with close links with the labour market. The underlying principles driving reform should be equity for higher education students, financial sustainability and a system that will future-proof our workforce and communities.
The current higher education policy and funding settings are deeply inequitable for the students of TAFE and other non-university providers – both in recognising their role in the sector and in the allocation of resources.
There is an immediate and necessary role for TAFE HEPs in tertiary education in lifting participation, workforce productivity and innovation in enterprises if Australia gets postcompulsory education policy settings right. It is time to focus the reform debate on how our tertiary education system can promote genuine diversity, collaboration, equity and excellence to meet the needs of students, industries, communities and governments and Australia’s prosperity into the future.
Click here to view the submission.