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The Australian government released Transforming Australia's Higher Education System (2009), in conjunction with its 2009-10 budget. The report positions higher education system reform as a key part of Australia's future. The 10-year strategy includes improving pathways between the vocational education and training (VET ) and higher education sectors.To improve articulation and connectivity between the sectors, government plans to:
- Form a single Ministerial Council for Tertiary Education and Employment (MCTEE).
- Commission the Australian Qualifications Framework council to develop strategies for improving articulation and connectivity between the two sectors.
- Provide more than $402 million over 4 years for projects that improve inter-sectoral sustainability, diversity and collaboration.
- Extend infrastructure renewal funding to VET providers in recognition of the sector's role in the development of a skilled workforce.
- Expand the scope of Skills Australia, an independent body that advises government on workforce skills and development needs, to include both university and VET systems.
- Establish a national regulatory body to oversee the registration of VET training providers and the accreditation of VET qualifications and courses.
The work of the Qualifications Framework Council will focus on improving the links between competency-based and merit-based qualifications.
The government will also offer financial incentives, such as providing funding to encourage universities to partner with schools and/or VET providers to develop programs and initiatives to reach more low-income students and raise their participation rate to 20 per cent by 2020 across the system.
The report is available here.
Big Skills Conference Proceedings - Australia, March 3, 2009
Professor David Finegold from Rutgers University presented Skills Jobs and the Global Economy: A Comparative Perspective at Australia's Big Skills conference, hosted by the federal Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.
Drawing on highlights from workforce skills issues and progress in several jurisdictions, Finegold argued that countries must create integrated 'skills ecosystems', to connect their skills policies to other government priorities.
As a way forward, Finegold suggested placing skills at the center of a wider jobs and economic strategy, including in the areas of trade and immigration, energy and the environment, public services and retirement. He also suggested that a lifelong learning system and a flexible work environment will be needed to support career reinvention.
He argued that the nations that will be in the best position to meet the skills challenge will have a strategy that is integrated across levels of the workforce development system, and will include in their strategy:
- Universal access to early childhood education.
- A world class educational foundation in their schools.
- Individual entitlement to PSE and training.
- Opportunities for training and retraining within employment and outside employment.
The strategy will also be integrated across departments and policy domains, and as well as between skill supply and demand.