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Fewer Australians will have uni or TAFE skills if governments don’t reform tertiary education

Peter Hurley and colleagues write in The Conversation (29.5.19) about their new Mitchell Institute report on the pressing need for collaborative government reforms in Australia’s tertiary education sector.

‘The re-elected Coalition government has some serious work to do with its state counterparts to get Australia’s tertiary education sector back on track. On current trends, participation rates in tertiary education – which includes university and vocational education training (VET) – will fall over the next decade.

‘A thriving economy depends on strong tertiary participation. A tertiary education qualification is increasingly a prerequisite for access to, and successful participation in, the labour market. Reversing the decline will be a shared responsibility between federal and state governments in collaboration with those in the tertiary education system.

‘The traditional model of going from school to tertiary education to work no longer fits. Experts predict that in 20 years Australians will need to double the amount of formal learning they do after the age of 21.

‘In a Mitchell Institute report released today, we argue the tertiary education sector of the future must allow students to move more freely between VET and higher education and gain the skills and knowledge they need at different times in their working lives. We also offer a blueprint to governments on how to achieve this.’

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