Go8 back big Accord idea

The Group of Eight supports the proposal for a “seamless” post-secondary system. The lobby’s response to Professor O’Kane and colleagues’ interim report, calls for

  • pathways between vocational and HE, in both directions, “and at various qualification levels”
  • a universal, life-long, learning entitlement
  • a needs based funding model for teaching

The Go8 explicitly rejects the suggestion of taxing institutions on earnings from international students and devotes a great deal of its response to research funding, which the Accord team has not dealt with in detail (separate story, this  issue). However, by accepting the transformation of tertiary ed and emphasising equity in its submission, the Eight acknowledge access to skills and their economic impact will be the government’s focus, stating that “inequity in education will never be solved by merely tinkering at the edges.”

Thus, it sets out advantages of an “integrated tertiary sector.”

  • pathways that allow people to enter and re-enter education and, “enable vocational upgrading and sideways transitioning”
  • equipping students with “advanced level” academic knowledge and skills and “vocationally oriented and applied knowledge and skills”
  • “a more efficient use of resources with smaller transaction costs and fewer adverse unintended consequences” 
  • a “a life-long learning account,” “would provide the opportunity for all Australians, regardless of background, to learn, train and re-skill as their needs and circumstances change throughout life.”

With industry groups also backing a borderless tertiary system, the most politically saleable idea for the government in the Accord process is starting to look like it will be carried on the voices when Professor O’Kane and colleagues deliver their final report at year end. 

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