Rubber Stamping and the Qualifications Factory Mentality

As I am sure almost everyone OTEN Part of Western Sydney Institute (TAFE)  has  been the subject of a report of rubber stamping of VET Qualifications on 9News.  Now whether or not the allegations are true or not is not what is really of interest to me.  What I find really interesting is that this sort of thing is still going on.  It wasn’t that long ago that the issues with construction qualifications in Victoria were bought to the attention of the media, we have  also seen ASQA de-register a range of RTO’s across several sectors for breaching the Standards and everyone I talk to knows at least one RTO, be they TAFE or otherwise who are well be shonky, be it across the board or only in relation to certain qualifications.

Yet on the other hand we see discussions at the highest level of government about returning regulation back to the states rather than having RTO’s regulated federally, and the suggestion that certain RTO’s would be able to self-regulate.  I am betting that most TAFE’s would fall into the category of being allowed to self regulate, yet if the 9NEWS  report is to be believed even in an environment of regulation they can’t be trusted to do the right thing and obey the standards.

The Australian VET system is one that is respected around the world and in general I think has a good reputation within Australia, but if we don’t see this Rubber Stamp, Qualification factory mentality stamped out, the industry will decline even further and will be nothing more than a joke.  But what can be done to ensure that VET maintains its high standards and that RTO’s be they TAFE’s or commercial providers, both maintain the standards and ensure that all of the stakeholders involved in Nationally Accredited Training in this country have their outcomes met;

  1. One set of rules, applied equally to all RTO’s whether they are a TAFE, a Commercial Provider or Enterprise,
  2. One regulator – A single Federally managed regulator, not the mishmash we have now, or a state based system or a self-regulated system, one single regulator, and
  3. A greater degree of regulation or at least investigation into what is actually being delivered by RTO’s and how it is being delivered.

Now I am not suggesting that this is all that is necessary, but it is i my mind a very good start.  Now I know that there are going to be people out there who disagree with these statements and would really like to hear what you have to say.  I would also like to hear from those who agree with me.






About pauldrasmussen
Paul Rasmussen is one of Australia’s most widely read Vocational Education and Training Commentators. He provides deep, unbiased analysis and insights not only on topical issues, but also on the underlying structure and policy which supports the industry. His writing and analysis has been praised for its uncompromising and thought provoking style and its ability to focus on the issues of real importance to the sector. He has advised various government departments and ministers, training providers, public and private organisations, not for profits and small to medium enterprises on the VET sector and the issues and opportunities facing it. He is one of Australia’s most awarded learning professionals and a regular speaker at a range of conventions and forums. His extensive experience in vocational education, and learning and development coupled with formal qualifications in philosophy, ethics, business and education management allow Paul to provide a unique view of the road ahead and how to navigate it.

2 Responses to Rubber Stamping and the Qualifications Factory Mentality

  1. I wholeheartedly agree Paul. I’ve just been drafting a blog with a similar theme.

  2. Andrae says:

    Reduction in Public Service numbers will dictate the number of Public Service officials who are qualified and able to oversee RTO’s. I agree self regulation may not be the answer. Yes! to a Federally controlled regulator, enabling a National Certification/Qualifications system to be maintained and consistent Nationally. At least that’s what I thought it was supposed to be. Returning to a State based model would take us backwards, inconsistency, duplication, inefficiency, one state not recognising another’s quals etc . Unfortunately still encountering the results of some rubber stamping, devaluing qualifications and this certainly needs further investigation.

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