Where are we going and why are we here?
If you have followed the recent discussion on social media ASQA’s practices, RTO closures, TAFE non-compliance, rorting of government funding (by now this is historical data being republished) it is one thing that stands out; students are not part of the discussion.
How did we arrive where we are at this point in time?
ASQA was set up in 2011 by the Labor Government. ASQA is completely independent and ASQA’s practices and existence can only be changed with a change of legislation. There is no doubt that some ASQA officers and auditors have acted outside their guidelines and that in the great “culling” of numbers many good RTOs have been closed down as well as some RTOs with really bad practices.
It is, however, a bit of a surprise to see large non-compliant RTOs with bad practices come back from the brink of death and be resurrected. Even after there have been clear breaches of the law and involvement of AFP somehow there has been survival eg. Is it because of enough money put in the right places miracles do happen?
Many TAFE`s have been found to be non-compliant in their practices and even now we hear stories from trainers who have been asked to deliver training at TAFE`s who require the trainer to “make up” their own training and assessment material. The recent promotion for apprenticeships where the picture shows a blatant disregard for basic WHS for a person working at heights did not paint a positive picture of how the VET system works.
There is no doubt that the move from employing full-time and part-time trainers to contractor positions has undermined the quality of the VET system. No job security, no annual leave, no super, no paid public holidays, no chance of being approved for a bank loan etc has meant that many experienced people have left to go back to the industry they came from. Simultaneously, Australia is experiencing a building boom and there is a huge shortage of experienced trainers in the traditional trades areas.
The TAE qualification has been butchered to death and currently does not produce trainers with even the most basic idea of how to educate students. Qualifications completed in the shortest possible time, with minimum industry experience and to top it off a substandard trainer qualification is not a recipe for producing engaging competent trainers. No wonder we need to produce assessment material with “model” answers. How else would the trainers know what they need to assess students against?
Fees and funding for students are linked to outcomes and completions. Regardless of where a trainer is employed, in private RTOs, Tafe or Universities trainers are pressured to sign off students as competent. The only qualifications that have kept up the standards of the graduates are the qualifications where industry keeps a tight rein on who gets licensed and who doesn’t.
As we all know, politics is everything and with enough pressure, even the ABC will pull a current story, replace it with a “rorting scandal” and dig up a story about one RTO that is over 3 years old.
Those of us that have been around the block all know that this was not the first time government funding has been rorted. There had already been the scandal when every man and his dog was signed in to Cert III IT and traineeship funding was claimed by 100’s of employers. (Who can forget the Workskills vouchers?) There were so many warnings before the VET-Fee help scheme was launched but no one was listening and the outcome was no surprise.
ASQA auditors have pushed training and assessment into a corner where learning material is written not to inspire and educate students but in a manner that will keep an auditor happy. To pacify auditors we make up waddles of text published on paper in an era when everything you want to know about anything is already available online and for the most part free of cost.
We also write assessments for auditors although to this day we have yet to see a version that all auditors can agree is compliant. We have evidence to show that when six ASQA auditors validated the same assessment from 1 unit of competency in different RTOs, five of made it compliant and the sixth one didn’t. The feedback from the six did not make sense as they all thought different parts of the assessment could be improved (how is that for consistency?) and for the same section the comment from one auditor was that there was not enough information for the student and other auditors commented on the same section saying that there was too much information. It is also incomprehensible how training and assessment material audited 2 years ago and assessed as compliant can be re-audited and be non-compliant in a training package that has not changed.
The children of Australia go through an education system where teachers tell them to do their own research, evaluate information and draw their own conclusions. Do this and become a self-motivated life-long learner. Then we send them to do Certificate III in whatever and give them learning material for 15 units of competency when 50% of the content is repeated because that’s how the auditors want it. No wonder they don’t want to come to class. Should auditors audit learning material? Does it matter how, when and where the student has acquired the learning?
If you are following the VET debate on social media you would know that there is a war and that the battle lines are drawn.
But where are the students in this conversation……..
Isn’t it a fact that education and training in its traditional form is fast losing its relevance and appeal? Is the Australian VET sector becoming a dinosaur?
The review of ASQA called for by Minister Michaelia Cash and the current petition on the Australian Parliament website calling for an investigation of ASQA will hopefully lead to a better regulatory system. As educators in the VET sector we are all familiar with the benefits and context of continuous improvement and this should apply across the board and include ASQA. If you have not already, sign the petition now. This is your opportunity to be part of building a better VET system.
The link for the petition can be found below:
3 years ago
24 March, 2022
How to ensure your training organisation is compliant with government regulations
If you’re running a vocational education and training organisation in Australia, you need to ensure that your organisation is compliant with government regulations. This article will outline some of the […]
2 months ago
19 September, 2021
Resource Validation Services: Why outsourcing can be a great option
Following the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Amendment (Governance and Other Matters) Bill 2020, ASQA has made a significant upgrade to the architecture of the vocational education and training […]
8 months ago
22 August, 2021
Education standards and politics
We are all well aware that in any country, it is hard to separate politics from educational issues and standards. However, it is quite sad when politics begins to have […]
9 months ago
22 August, 2021
RPL Kits-Let’s discuss compliance with clauses 1.8 and 1.12
The legislative requirements The legislation is very clear regarding compliance in RPL kits and why you need to have RPL Kits for every unit of competency you are training and […]
9 months ago
3 December, 2019
The drop in traineeships and apprenticeships. Why is it happening?
A recent figures revealed that the federal government over the last five years has underspent close to $1 billion of its budget on TAFE, training and apprenticeships. This is on […]
2 years ago
18 November, 2019
Where are we going and why are we here?
If you have followed the recent discussion on social media ASQA’s practices, RTO closures, TAFE non-compliance, rorting of government funding (by now this is historical data being republished) it is […]
3 years ago
- April 2022
- March 2022
- February 2022
- January 2022
- December 2021
- November 2021
- October 2021
- September 2021
- August 2021
- July 2021
- June 2021
- May 2021
- April 2021
- March 2021
- December 2020
- November 2020
- May 2020
- February 2020
- December 2019
- November 2019
- October 2019
- September 2019
- August 2019
- July 2019
- May 2019
- April 2019
- March 2019
- December 2018
- November 2018
- October 2018
- September 2018
- August 2018
- July 2018
- June 2018
- May 2018
- November 2016
- October 2016