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Greens call for shake-up of private vocational education funding

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 27 Jan 2015

Following further revelations of potential rorting by private, for-profit education providers, the Australian Greens have called for the recently established Senate inquiry into private vocational education to consider a crackdown on private operators accessing government funding.

"Figures highlighted by the ABC showing that only 19 students from Evocca College graduated in 2012, despite the fact the college enrolled 14,000 that year, demonstrates the serious problem at the heart of the for-profit education industry," Greens spokesperson for higher education Senator Rhiannon said.

"The current funding system encourages private operators to enrol as many students as possible with little attention paid to the quality of the education being delivered or graduate outcomes.

"The VET-FEE-HELP program has exploded in size over recent years - growing nearly 30 fold in the past six years.

"This program essentially sees the public underwrite loans to private education companies. If students don't complete their degree or can't repay their loan because they can't find work, it is the Australian government that contributes to the financial bottom line of these companies.

"On top of this, the public is spending billions subsidising private education companies at the same time TAFE is being decimated - as the result of the Labor driven COAG reform process.

"This policy of contestable funding, supported by both Labor and the Coalition, is seeing private education companies grow due to public subsidies while TAFE funding is cut even further back.

"It's time for a radical overhaul of vocational education training in Australia and a new system that prioritises public education over private profits," Senator Rhiannon said.


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