ACPET

Representing quality private education
providers in Australia

Edition 710, 19 June 2017

Life makes you think


Sometimes things happen in life that make you remember what is important.

That, unfortunately has happened to me over the weekend. Enough about that but it did make me also think about work. My children would say I am having an Emo moment.

We spend so much time at work it really is important that you enjoy it. Wow, that principle has been tested.

Why? Well, about 110% of my attention has been on the fallout from one of the biggest crises that has befallen the industry since its inception.

I again ask how did we get here?

I am not talking about program design, monitoring strategies, regulation and all that. Yes, there are some real learnings that we all must heed. This crisis has placed enormous pressure on all of us in the sector. Yes, government, government officials, regulators and public and private providers.

I am talking about the greed that was the cancer that has hurt students and everyone else. Yes, we will implement strategies in an attempt to prevent it ever happening again and this will impact on quality providers – but there was no choice.

We can talk about governance, better reporting and monitoring but let’s face it – it was pure greed and a complete lack of ethics that brought the house down.

So why do I think it is all about ethics?

Aristotle himself coined the phrase 'a life well-lived', the need to consider implications before we act.

Our ethical beliefs should guide our decisions, what we do, how we behave and the choices we make.

However, ethics should not just be about Aristotle, it should be at the core of our everyday life.

So, if ethics define us, what does that say about those that made the decisions to mislead students, parents, governments and the industry?

We can all make conscious and conscientious ethical choices if we wanted to. But the architects of the fraud and even those that simply followed the train did not make decisions of conscience. Chasing profits and enrolments without any regard for education or the implications for the student shows a total disregard for all that we stand for.

It was always going to be short-term but the implications will be lengthy.

Everyone I know has invested enormous amounts into this fix.

At ACPET, like many others we have thrown pretty much all of our resources at trying to fix the problems and to help students – and yet it has not been anywhere close to enough. 

Now why is that?

It’s because students who made decisions that should have set themselves up for the future have been left with not a great deal. Fully in debt and often with no results. No subjects completed in complete breach of the guidelines of the scheme.

This is placing enormous pressure of those of us left to fix it. I assure you this will be no easy fix but fix it we must.

Of course, it should not have happened but more importantly great educators would never have done it in the first place.

Again, a complete breakdown of ethics.

Where to? Well I have said many times already that we all need to think this through.

However, I worry about what of the architecture will be left.

The damage is already unfathomable – yet there will be more.

Simply an outrage.

Rod Camm
CEO
ACPET


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