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Members of AQF review panel announced

Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham has named four of six members of an expert panel charged with reviewing Australia’s Qualifications Framework (AQF).

The panel was set up to examine changes in the nature of work and developments in Australian education and other qualification frameworks across the world to ensure the AQF meets the needs of students, education providers and employers.

Professor Peter Noonan from Victoria University’s Mitchell Institute has been appointed chair of the panel.

Other panellists announced include:

  • Professor Sally Kift, Adjunct Professor in the College of Business, Law & Governance at James Cook University
  • Megan Lilly, head of workforce development with Ai Group, and
  • Professor Elizabeth More, dean of the Australian Institute of Management School of Business.

Two other panel members will be nominated by the states and territories through the COAG Education Council and the COAG Industry Skills Council.

The AQF was last reviewed between 2009 and 2011. PhillipsKPA, in the contextual research provided for the review, said virtually all of the substantive comments made in submissions to the earlier review are still at the forefront of stakeholders’ concerns in 2018.

“The 2013 revised draft of the AQF, while addressing some concerns, does not appear to have dealt with the major issues that continue to create problems in interpretation and implementation of the AQF,” the report read.

The authors of the report noted considerable feedback across regulators, providers, professions, industry and government agencies that the descriptors of levels and qualifications are not as effective as desired. They said the 2018 review would need to focus on the language, presentation and underpinning concepts of the AQF to make it more easily understood and implemented.

“As a document the AQF currently fails in one of its key objectives which is to clarify for the general public the options from which they may choose to achieve their learning and employment goals,” they wrote. “This conclusion is inescapable given the considerable expressions of confusion among those whose job it is to design, deliver and quality assure educational programs.”

Birmingham said the review will ensure the Framework works as a tool used by employers and supports quality and transparency in the education system.

“It’s vital we have a future framework that is adaptable and flexible to the demands of industry and that they can have confidence in the qualification outcomes of students,” he said.

The review will also look at the changing qualification and course offerings of institutions, such as the rise of micro-credentials, Birmingham added.

Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, Karen Andrews, said it was critical prospective and current students have a clear understanding of the education and training qualifications available to them.

“We want students to have access to a wide variety of tools to help them make informed decisions about the best career path for their goals and ambitions.

“This framework will help Australians map out a possible career and development pathway, whether they are finishing school, searching for a job or even looking to switch careers,” Andrews said.

Public consultations will take place in the second half of this year. A discussion paper will also be released before the year’s end. The final report is expected provided to the government by June 2019.

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