Representing quality private education
providers in Australia

Private education works - just ask the students!

Monday, March 14 2016

Dare I say it - Private higher education institutions get a tick from students.

Just over a week ago the 2015 Student Experience Survey (SES) National Report was released. A copy of the report is at:

The Survey measured higher education student satisfaction across 40 universities and, for the first time, 39 non-university higher education institutions.

 It forms part of the Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT) initiative that was introduced as part of the federal government’s proposed higher education reforms.

Five focus areas were surveyed as part of the SES - skills development, learner engagement, teaching quality, student support and learning resources - along with the quality of entire educational experience.

Overall it indicates that 80% of students are satisfied with the quality of their entire educational experience - 80% for universities and 78% for non-university institutions.  That’s a good outcome for the sector. It is worth noting that in four of the five focus areas non-university institutions scored slightly higher than their university counterparts. Universities had somewhat higher levels of student satisfaction in relation to learning resources which is not surprising given the public funding that is available to universities and not to other institutions.

Of course there are areas where improvement is suggested including student engagement for external and older students. 
But this report highlights the satisfaction of students with the quality of education provided by non-university higher education providers and the strong case for the non-discriminatory funding model that the federal government proposed as part of its higher education reforms. These reforms were collateral damage in the scare campaign that saw the reform package defeated. 

University Australia Chair, Professor Barney Glover last week called on the major parties to provide some certainty in higher education policy ahead of the federal election. ACPET supports this call - but also for the parties to commit to a funding model that doesn’t financially penalise higher education students simply because of their choice of provider.

It is pleasing to see what benefits are possible in a well designed, structured market.

On a very different front, on the back of the recent ACPET forum with South Australian members, I talked with Wendy Perry on the Workforce Architects podcast, about the things in VET we aren't talking about but should.

If you really have nothing else to do, here is the link to the podcast recording, which is around 15 minutes, as it was recorded in the car on the way to the Adelaide Airport,

It is worth having a listen to the other episodes across the spectrum of entrepreneurship, innovation, workforce planning and development as well as VET, please follow this link,

For me, this was a very practical example of innovation and technology in VET, something that we all need to embrace now more than ever before. 

Wendy is keen to chat with ACPET members in future podcast episodes and if you’d like to be involved you can contact her via

On a final note for this week, you may recall I raised the issue of the decline in apprenticeships and traineeships last week. The role for coordinated government and industry action is imperative. However, for those who are visual I thought I would include a graph I have been reviewing for many years. It demonstrates just how closely apprenticeship commencements track the economy (using the ASX as a proxy). Yes the numbers are trending the wrong way.


In thinking about data trending the wrong way, the Mitchell Institute’s Professor Peter Noonan’s report: VET funding in Australia: Background, trends and future options will be released on Tuesday 15 March.

It will again be compelling reading, with the report considering the state of funding and both the likelihood of further deterioration in VET funding and the ever widening gap between VET and the other sectors of education – not great news for skills development for the future. 

Peter’s analysis also extends to the current debate about the proposed Commonwealth’s takeover of VET.

In an act of exquisite timing, Peter provides advice on a way forward in the debate, with the view of ensuring VET remains relevant in the future.

Don’t believe me, please read a summary of the findings here.

Rod Camm


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