An internationally famous Australian economist will headline of CCA’s Brisbane conference keynote addresses. Professor John Quiggin (pictured), an Australian Laureate Fellow in Economics at the University of Queensland, will give a keynote presentation on the failures of Australian vocational education and training (VET) policy.
Professor Quiggin is one of Australia’s most outspoken economists (his latest essay is about the Adani coal mine, Inside Story, 6 September 2019). He has written the following about for-profit VET in Australia:
“For-profit education has almost invariably failed to deliver good educational outcomes, particular when for-profit providers have access to public funding. It is far easier to game funding systems than to provide good quality education. Failure has been consistent across all forms of education, from childcare (ABC Learning and, more recently, G8 education) Notable examples of failure including for-profit schools (US and Sweden) for-profit universities, most notably the University of Phoenix in the US and the VET FEE-HELP fiasco.
“Attempts to restructure education as a competitive industry, in which market signals play a central role, have proved almost entirely unsuccessful or counterproductive. Many of these initiatives have been abandoned and others have been characterised by chronic problems of fraud and exploitation of regulatory loopholes. It is now generally admitted that the policy of opening public funding to for-profit providers has been a disastrous failure.”
About Professor Quiggin
Professor John Quiggin is prominent both as a research economist and as a commentator on Australian economic policy. He is a Fellow of the Econometric Society, the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and many other learned societies and institutions.
Earlier this year, Professor Quiggin published Economics in Two Lessons Why Markets Work So Well, and Why They Can Fail So Badly (Princeton University Press), which Professor Richard Holden called “an instant classic” that will “feature on university reading lists around the world [and] should also be compulsory reading for policymakers and public commentators.”
He has also written on policy topics including climate change, micro-economic reform, privatisation, employment policy and the management of the Murray-Darling river system. His book, Zombie Economics: How Dead Ideas Still Walk Among Us, was also released in 2010 by Princeton University Press, and has been translated into eight languages. He has produced more than 1500 publications, including six books and more than 200 refereed journal articles, in fields including decision theory, environmental economics, production economics, and the theory of economic growth.