The Monash Commission has released its vision for post-compulsory education with three transforming recommendations for the future.
Among them are the introduction of a universal learning entitlement, supported by income contingent loans, and a ‘Lifetime Learning Account’ for all Australians to help students track, credit and verify their training. Each student would have a universal student number to cover all publicly subsidised education and training across their lifetime.
In conducting its inquiry, the Monash Commission canvassed research from scholars, conducted interviews with a wide range of industry representatives, students, and leaders of educational institutions, and tested its recommendations with key individuals who have worked at the forefront of post-compulsory education.
Chair of the Monash Commission, Elizabeth Proust, said the Commission has started a community-wide conversation about the importance of lifelong learning.
“The Commission’s vision for the post-compulsory education system in Australia is one that provides adaptable, capable global citizens who are both job-ready and resilient in dealing with change.”
The inquiry found that while 56 per cent of Australians 15 years and older hold some sort of post-school qualification, 90 per cent of new jobs created by 2023 are expected to require a Certificate II or higher, which will leave many working Australians with poor employment prospects.
To effectively address these concerns, the Commission advocates for major funding reform in the sector, including separate funding pools for research and education, and calling for education and all research to be fully funded by the state and federal governments.
The Commission also recommends the establishment of a statutory agency for post-compulsory education and training, which would advise government and control funding across the sector. It would be the single funding authority distributing the allocated budget for all state, territory and Commonwealth subsidised post-compulsory education.
Monash University’s President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Margaret Gardner AO said the Commission’s findings highlight that in coming decades, Australia’s prosperity will increasingly depend on the relevance of workers’ education and skills, and that no-one should be left behind.
“Access, at any time in one’s career, to relevant and high quality education is critical to Australia’s future. Education inspires citizens to build the future they want, and respond to the continually evolving set of skills needed to maintain a healthy and prosperous society,” Professor Gardner said.
What is the Monash Commission
Formed in April 2018, the Monash Commission brings together Australian and international leaders who are driving policy discussion and decisions.
The Monash Commission is conducting a series of in-depth inquiries that capture the best available evidence and public perspectives to effect major change on vital matters.
The Report ‘Three Recommendations for Renewal of Post-Compulsory Education in Australia’, is the response to the first enquiry into post-secondary education conducted by the Monash Commission.
This was led by industry leader Ms Elizabeth Proust AO, Immediate past Chair of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Nestle Australia and Bank of Melbourne.
She was joined by:
· Professor Ian Chubb AC – former Vice-Chancellor, Australian National University and Flinders University, and former Chief Scientist
· Marie Persson – former Chair, NSW Skills Board Industry Reference Group, and former head of NSW TAFE and Community Education
· Professor Rory Hume – Associate Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Education, and Dean of Dentistry at the University of Utah
· Mette Schepers – Mercer Australia’s client growth leader for the Pacific market, and financial and professional services executive
· Sir Nigel Thrift – former Vice-Chancellor, University of Warwick, and former Executive Director of the prestigious Schwarzmann Scholars international leadership program