The changing balances of equity, control and market choice in the Indigenous vocational education and training sector
AbstractThe rationales and related programs for delivering vocational education and training to Indigenous Australians have seen significant change over the past 40 years, with several influential reviews marking policy pivot points along the way. Commencing with the 1960s Martin Review, the implementation by governments of selected recommendations have led to structural reforms and the creation of public policy instruments to monitor, regulate and control access to vocational training. These activities have heavily impacted Australian First Nations people for whom certificate level qualifications are disproportionally the highest level of post-school education held. In the ‘thin’ markets of regional Australia, in particular, the authors of this paper argue that the changing priorities in training policy have systematically perpetuated inequity of access to, and benefit from vocational education and training, contrary to the original conception of a national post-secondary technical and further education system for Australia. Marketisation of the training sector and the transfer of funding responsibility from the public purse to the individual student/worker have produced low rates of employment and high training attrition rates for First Nations people. We argue that this arises from a fundamental shift in the meaning of equity itself. Culminating in today’s implementation of training under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy explores how the refusal of self-determination, unscrupulous practices, limited choice and culturally inappropriate training continues to reinforce the nation’s persistent failure to close the gap in Indigenous wellbeing.
Stephens, Anne, and Zoellner, Don (2018) The changing balances of equity, control and market choice in the Indigenous vocational education and training sector. Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts. (In Press)