Government announces funding guarantee proposal02-02-2012
While the Australia Education Union welcomes the announcement by the Gillard Government that it will be taking a proposal to guarantee funding to students studying up to a certificate three at the next CoAG meeting in March, the Government must provide detail of the additional funds it will provide to support such an initiative.
The AEU encourages states and territories to join the Federal Government in funding additional training for the many thousands of young Australians who could benefit from access to vocational education.
The AEU is concerned about the announcement from the Government about a proposed further expansion of income contingent loans or HECS-style fees in the VET sector.
Such a scheme has recently been introduced in Victoria and in a piecemeal way in other states. There has been no adequate evaluation of the take up of the scheme in VET, nor an assessment of its impact on students. Indeed, anecdotal information is that VET students remain debt averse, and increased fees and charges resulting from the introduction of HECS-style loans are a further disincentive to disadvantaged and working class students.
Australians currently have access to government funded places at their local TAFE institute. It is critical that the further expansion of a HECS in TAFE and VET not substitute for the desperately needed additional funds that TAFE institutes need to provide additional places to address skills shortages, and to provide access to higher level qualifications.
funding.The public TAFE system is well placed to meet the increased demand resulting from such an intake, but with We encourage the Federal Government to release details of the additional funds required to underpin such an important initiative to enable public TAFE providers to guarantee places to students.