The Universities Australia Higher Education Conference has been taking place this week in Canberra. Labor education shadow Tanya Plibersek used the occasion to provide details of plans for university funding and comment again on ITE programs.
A Labor Government will increase university funding by $10bn over a decade and reinstate demand driven funding of undergraduate places for the 2020 academic year. Ms Plibersek also announced a Labor Government would, “guarantee three-funding agreements”. Labor, will “return certainty and funding autonomy to the sector,” she said. Ms Plibersek also committed Labor to reforming international education exports, promising an expanded advisory body, including the VET sector and a new five-year plan.
Plibersek specified, “addressing sexual assault and harassment on campus and in residential colleges”.
And she warned that if universities did not lift entry standards for teacher education degrees, “as federal minister for education I would have the ability to cap places in teaching degrees – and that option will remain a live one in any future discussions.”
Plibersek also announced the terms of reference for the proposed post compulsory education review. The inquiry will address:
- a high quality, efficient, effective, and modern post-secondary education system
- an equitable, sustainable, and transparent funding model
- public institutions (TAFEs and universities) at the centre of post-secondary education
- courses and qualifications responsive to changes in labour market and society and fit-for-purpose
- student access to institutions and courses to increase their skills, capabilities and knowledge
- appropriate links between post-secondary education and work; with workplaces sites of high-quality learning; and portable qualifications
- accessible apprenticeship system, adapting to technological change and supported by all benefitting parties
- increased participation of under-represented and disadvantaged Australians
- addressing needs of post-secondary students and institutions in regional and remote Australia
- a strong, competitive, diverse and sustainable international education sector
- careers advice with appropriate value on VET
- adequate funding for post-secondary infrastructure
- national regulatory systems including agency roles, institutional accountability, the qualifications framework and consumer protection
I expect there are a number of issues here that we will want to comment on. Perhaps this is a good topic for an upcoming school meeting…