Curated VET industry news
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Advancing Australia's VET Sector

Curated industry news from RTO Advance. #05 2020
Dear friends and colleagues,
Let’s start with some positivity this month! The Qatar Foundation recently held their annual WISE Conference (virtually) in which they explored the implications of COVID-19 on the future of education leadership and school systems with some of the world’s best minds and leading thinkers on the topic.
Their overall summary? That
“COVID-19 has offered a ‘golden ticket’ to the future of education” and that is such a fantastic and much-needed perspective to be taking right now:

Experts from around the world outlined how COVID-19 has left indelible marks on the global education landscape but could also lead to it being reformed in a way the world has never seen before. Professor John Hattie, Director of Melbourne Education Research Institute, commented on the paradigm shift in education caused by the pandemic, saying:

“Educators have engineered an educational revolution,  and have worked out how to best suit their students online and blended learning. We could say that COVID-19 has offered us a golden ticket, a chance to disrupt the traditional grammar of schooling, to engage many more students during classes. It has given educators  - and not policymakers - the opportunity to drastically improve learning in our schools, a chance to truly hear how students think, how they problem-solve, how they engage in learning, and how they could be efficient learners.
"We need to question the old structures we have held onto – not the value they bring, but what they may block - and whether their value is worth what they lead to us losing out on.”

Meanwhile here in Australia, the extraordinary damage done to Australia’s reputation through Canberra’s treatment of international students has
continued to be a key point of focus.

We have included an
important recent report by the Migrant Worker Justice Initiative on international students and temporary visa holders in Australia in which temporary migrants described their anguish of exclusion and racism during COVID-19 and of feeling as if they were merely ‘cash cows’ and ‘garbage’.

This is so disappointing, and it is hoped that our reputation as being a safe and inclusive education environment for all can be repaired.
We have also included a new report from the Centre for Future Work on how rebuilding Australia’s inclusive TAFE system is going to be vital for increasing productivity post-COVID.
And finally, an interesting read below from the Harvard Business Review on leading through times of trauma and using this as a personal and professional growth opportunity for you and your team.

Best regards

Judith Bowler
Educational Strategist & Founder, RTO Advance
Killing the golden goose: How Australia's international students are being driven away READ MORE

Neglect ‘fuels perceptions of racism’ against students in Australia READ MORE

Is the uni sector getting a raw deal? 

Australian universities cower as disaster looms READ MORE

As universities face losing 1 in 10 staff, COVID-driven cuts create 4 key risks READ MORE

TEQSA: New guidance for Australian Higher Education providers on selecting a suitable independent expert to conduct a review or seek expert advice as part of their internal quality assurance processes 

Lockdowns put VCAL students at risk of not completing Year 12 READ MORE

2021 will be a competitive year for university applicants READ MORE

ITECA CEO takes the gloss off new TAFE report. A new report has highlighted TAFE’s role in Australia’s economic success and warned that not investing in the sector will destroy our economy’s engines for prosperity, growth and equity 
An important report on International students and temporary visa holders in Australia - time to treat them as part of the community and not just as cash cows via @RobertParsonson
Temporary Migrants in Australia During COVID-19


This is the first study to reveal the depth of social exclusion, racism and deeper emotional consequences of Australia’s policies, which have significantly impacted Australia’s global reputation.
Three in five international students and backpackers were less likely to recommend Australia as a place for study and travel, based on their treatment during COVID-19. The findings indicate potential long-term economic and diplomatic consequences of current government policies which are at odds with those of other similar countries such as the UK that have included temporary migrants in wage subsidies.
There are also detailed findings on increased prevalence of racism against Chinese and other Asian migrants during the pandemic. It recommends the government urgently reconsider its policies. In particular, it calls upon the government to provide wage subsidies and other support to address the critical humanitarian need identified, and to repair the immediate and longer-term damage caused by Australia’s exclusion of these integral members of our community and workforce.
Close to three quarters of survey respondents lost all or most of their work during the pandemic. Thousands were left unable to pay for food and rent, having been categorically excluded from government wage subsidy schemes. More than half (57%) believe their financial stress will deepen by year’s end, with one in three international students forecasting their funds will run out by October. 

Additional Reading:

As If We Weren’t Humans: The Abandonment of Temporary Migrants in Australia During COVID-19

Published on 17 September 2020, presents findings from a July online survey of 6,105 international students and visa holders, on their experiences in Australia during COVID-19. READ HERE >>

'Garbage' and 'cash cows': temporary migrants describe anguish of exclusion and racism during COVID-19

Draws on the survey data to explain the broader long-term impacts of the Australian government’s exclusion of temporary migrants during the pandemic. READ HERE >>


‘I will never come to Australia again’: new research reveals the suffering of temporary migrants during the COVID-19 crisis

In the early days of the COVID-19 lockdown in March, many temporary visa holders working in heavily casualised industries, such as hospitality and retail, lost their jobs and struggled to meet basic living expenses. READ HERE >>

Rebuilding TAFE System Critical to Economic Recovery

CENTRE FOR FUTURE WORK. By Alison Pennington
The COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in an era of unprecedented disruption and transition. Increased public investment in the skills and earning capabilities of Australians will be critical to our post-pandemic recovery.
New research from the Centre for Future Work An Investment in Productivity and Inclusion finds despite chronic underfunding and failed market-led VET policies, Australia’s historic investment in the TAFE system continues to generate an enormous and ongoing dividend to the Australian economy. The TAFE system supports $92.5 billion in annual economic benefits through the direct operation of TAFE institutes, higher incomes and productivity generated by the TAFE-credentialed workforce and reduced social benefits costs.
COVID-19 has offered ‘a golden ticket to the future of education’, QF’s WISE conference was told.

Experts from around the world have outlined how COVID-19 has left indelible marks on the global education landscape but could also lead to it being reformed in a way the world has never see before, at the latest edition of the World Innovation Summit for Education’s virtual conference series.

The third and final instalment of Education Disrupted, Education Reimagined – organized by Qatar Foundation’s global education initiative – welcome thought-leaders and practitioners from different parts of the globe under the theme School Leadership During & Beyond COVID-19.  

Sharing his insights at the opening of the online conference on what lies ahead for education during and after COVID-19, Anthony Mackay, CEO of the National Center on Education and the Economy in Australia, said: “If we are to tackle the educational leadership challenges and the way to move forward, we need to focus on three main aspects.

“Firstly, it is a leadership task, a collective responsibility that we all share. Secondly, it is a self-authorising job, which requires each of us within the education sector or related sectors to lead at a community level, to have a fully engaged educated citizenry. We need to all work together, because the learning business is everybody's business.
“And thirdly, we need to lead in order to promote trust, generate hope, and embrace collaboration, the results of which have been evident during the last couple of months.”

‘Successful online teaching includes providing content in a clear and accessible way and showing students that we care through thoughtful and deliberate course design.’
via @neilmosley5
Creating Emotional Engagement in Online Learning

Previous studies have focused on course design and the use of technology to enhance student engagement.

While these things are important, a framework for online student engagement developed in 2018 by Petrea Redmond and colleagues suggests that students engage in learning via five dimensions: cognitive, behavioral, social, collaborative, and emotional.

This means that rather than focusing only on student access to the content and the course design, educators also need to facilitate social and collaborative interaction to ensure students are emotionally connected within the course.

Elizabeth Reyes-Fournier et al. found that emotional engagement is a crucial aspect of online teaching effectiveness. 

Don’t Just Lead Your People Through Trauma. Help Them Grow.

Teams that are clear on their purpose work harder, smarter, and more collaboratively.
The last several months have stacked painful experiences on top of each other: a global pandemic, economic collapse, and new reminders of perennial racial injustice and police violence. This July, rates of depression and anxiety in the U.S. were more than 
triple those of early 2019. The simple question, “How are you?” has turned into an emotional minefield.
Workplaces are saturated with trauma, too, and leaders are agonising over how to keep their teams healthy as everyone works remotely and juggles any number of stressors. The science of trauma offers some insight about this moment, and some surprising hope: Instead of asking how we will recover from these painful times, we should ask how we will be changed by them. In many cases, we have an opportunity to change for the better.

International evidence supports claims that reorganising VET qualifications into occupational clusters will make our VET system more responsive to emerging skill needs:
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