Representing quality private education
providers in Australia

The Perfect Storm - Our Roles in Positive Engagement

Monday, December 15 2014

The media plays an important role in reporting the news and in shaping public opinion.

At the moment, we all experience some frustration that most reporting in national media has been negative. Stories questioning the integrity of private educators and challenging their quality are frequent. Inappropriate marketing and recruitment of students, high fees for poor courses and the very public quality failure of a provider in Victoria have featured in reporting. There has also been an insinuation that for profit equates to low standard. What is ironic is that in some industries valued on par with education, for instance health, the more a provider charges the better they’re perceived to be.

Understandably, detrimental reports rub against the grain of the high calibre of educators who represent the large majority of our sector.

It may be time for us step back and reflect on how we can all influence this discussion better.

Journalists are for the main reasonable decent people, who report the facts as they see them. Yes it is true that if one reads through ACPET’s media releases, they might see that the messages we send often don’t precisely correlate with what is published.

Of course ACPET’s voice is but one. Message momentum and consistency are what’s needed if change is to happen. The membership holistically needs to make some noise!

We do now need to think about how we return the discussion to what matters, quality education and outcomes. In this regard members sit on a treasure trove of great news stories about the wonderful outcomes from education and skills programs.

We can all help demonstrate that we as organisations aspire for educational quality. Letters to editors, press releases, interviews, calls to talk-back radio are all ways that we can get our message out – that education, including private education matters.  As the old saying goes: sometimes if you want something done, you’ve just got to do it yourself.

Only when the same message comes through repeatedly, will commentators get a feel for a new story, that we are changing lives.


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