The AQF, Volume of Learning, Regulation and RTO’s
February 28, 2013 3 Comments
So as some of you are aware (some more than others) I went to the Brisbane AQF Implementation workshop today.
It moved pretty slowly but I had always expected that and then the presentation moved to Volume of Learning, and what it meant and its implications and things livened up into a quite rigorous discussion let by Tony Feagan, whom I am sure a lot of you know are issues with the delivery of the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and what implications the statements around volume of Learning would have on stopping the very shoddy delivery and assessment of this qualification that goes on in some RTO’s.
I want to move away from that particular discussion however and look at something that I have to admit vexed me a little more about the whole discussion and situation. It seems and correct me if I am wrong that the Industry Skills Councils, who are tasked to administer and develop the VET qualifications, should be writing the qualifications in such a manner that it if assessed properly, the length of time it would take someone to be able to be assessed as competent in the Qualification would meet the Volume of Learning rules. Therefore an RTO who was delivering a Qualification in under the time set out in the Volume of Learning would need to show how and why it was that they were able to do that.
But on the other hand, and again correct me if I am wrong, if the RTO can show sufficient evidence to support the fact that that it has meet the assessment criteria for the unit, then there is nothing that the regulator can do about them being under the volume of learning. Which seems to me to mean that the ball is firmly in the court of the Industry Skills Councils to get this right and to actually put some robust assessment criteria, such as as some quoted today, in one of the hospitality qualification the student has to prepare a dish 57 times, successfully using all of the skills in the unit of competency. Does this mean that they might do things like state the minimum actual placement (not simulation) hours that someone doing an aged care or community services qualification would have to undertake?
The other thing that vexed me as the statement ‘well if you have signed up to be an RTO then it is your responsibility to abide by the rules not ASQA’s job to crack down on you’ now while this is correct and is in fact the role of a regulator it strikes me that there is a deeper issue here as well. Both the VET and HE markets in Australia (as they are almost everywhere) are commercial competitive markets, with a whole range of ways, from Fee for service, to traineeships, to shall we say bulk funding which is to a large extent (and going to become more so in QLD) competitive and contestable. So it stands to reason unless there are actual, enforceable consequences around not delivery nothing will actually change.