CCA appeared in today’s edition (10 January 2017) of The Sydney Morning Herald letters page, under the title “Time to value education as investment, not commodity." The letter, from CCA CEO, Dr Don Perlgut, referred to an article by reporter Eryk Bagshaw about the coming closure of the private for-profit VET college, Australasian College Broadway. As published by the Herald, the letter reads:
Time to value education as investment, not commodity
The Australasian College Broadway will not be the last private for-profit vocational education and training college to close its doors ("Australasian College Broadway: Teenagers left 'devastated' by collapse and in thousands of dollars of debt", smh.com.au, January 9). We have a virtual absence of Commonwealth government policy on the future of vocational education and training (VET).
The replacement of the scandal-ridden VET FEE-HELP loans, which Australasian College Broadway relied on as virtually its sole business model, with the new VET Student Loans program, does not go to the core of the problem: an unbalanced system created by the marketisation/privatisation of VET.
Both the Australian schools sector and higher education sector are coherent compared to VET. Not coincidentally, neither of those two educational sectors have a 67 per cent private for-profit "market penetration" the way that the VET sector has (3 million of 4.5 million VET students in 2015).
It's time to return to quality education over a so-called "efficient" private market, which turned out not to be so "efficient" after all, relying on unsustainable government subsidies. It's time to value education as an investment and not as a commodity.
Don Perlgut, Chief Executive, Community Colleges Australia, Sydney
Click here to view the letter online (note: you will need to scroll down the page) or view a copy of the paper edition below.
Also see yesterday's CCA news item about the new VET Student Loans program.