One rule of some another for TAFE!
March 11, 2016 11 Comments
The VET sector in this country is regulated by a set of standards which are supposed to apply to all providers whether they are public, that is a TAFE or a private provider. However after revelations this week about the Kangan Institute having left sensitive student files in an abandoned campus for
It is abundantly clear that all providers are not equal!
In fact in this case if it wasn’t for the fact that the local council issued a notice to the Victoria department of education to do something about the state of the campus because local residents were scared to walk past it, the files may well have sat there forever.
This unequal treatment is clearly the case at least in Victoria at the very least, which of course has not yet managed to get its act together and hand over regulation from its state based regulator to ASQA so regulation of its providers is still provided by a body which is funded by the State government which, oh that’s right, also owns the TAFEs. Can anyone else see problems with this because I certainly can.
For a system which is supposed to regulate all providers in the same way and according to the same standards it seems while private providers certainly are being held to account as can be seen by the list of ASQA audit decisions, looking at the same table clearly tells us that TAFE is not being held to account in the same way. There does not appear to be one single reference to any TAFE in Australia ever having been sanctioned by ASQA. Now to be fair Victoria and WA are not regulated by ASQA, but I have to say that I seriously doubt if we were to look at the audit decisions of those sate regulators that we would find any adverse decisions against TAFEs under their jurisdiction either.
Now please do not get me wrong here, I am not attempting to bag TAFE or suggested that most of them do not do a great job, those of you who have read this blog for a while will know that I am a supporter of the public VET system. However are we actually to believe that of all of the TAFEs, are all so perfect that there has not ever been even conditions applied to their activities by a regulator anywhere, when clearly given the revelations above and a range of other issues that have surfaced over the past few years with other public providers, this is not the case.
Now let us for a moment consider what the ramifications might have been of the Kangan Incident had rather than it being a public provider, it had been a private provider who had left sensitive student documents strewn around an abandoned office. I don’t think we need to consider this too deeply to say with a fair amount of certainty that if this had happened at a private provider that they would have been DEREGISTERED.
So the question which sits in my head now is what will happen to Kangan and the staff and management responsible for this massive, ongoing, systemic failure. My guess would be nothing. Kangan won’t be closed, (Can’t close a TAFE that would have devastating effects on the community), the management and staff who are responsible won’t be fired (they might be lightly chastised though), the government, Kangan or anyone else involved won’t take responsibility and probably wont even acknowledge it happen or even apologise to the students whose records and personal details they treat so carelessly. What will happen then? There will be a review and some policies and procedures will be updated, TAFE, the Unions and maybe even the Victorian State government will come out and say that has clearly been caused by competitive funding which has stripped TAFE of the resources which it needs to operate properly and that it is all the fault of the private providers in the system.
The situation where TAFE is treated differently from all other providers, even though they are all governed by the same standards, simply because they are a government-owned entity is ridiculous and needs to stop. If a TAFE does something worthy of deregistration it should be deregistered, or at the very least suspended from delivery of VET qualifications until it gets its act together. If the problem is in one of its schools or campuses, or courses then stop them delivering. It is really as simple as that.
We have a single set of regulations it is about time that everyone was actually regulated in the same way.
Anyway that’s just my opinion.