A decision by the Morrison government to appoint Steven Joyce to lead a review of the vocational education sector in Australia could spell disaster.
Joyce’s appointment may be an attempt to undermine the potential electoral advantage to Labor of campaigning on a platform of ambitious reform of vocational education.
Labor announced its own review of the sector in March.
Nevertheless, the Tertiary Education Union said it was alarmed that Joyce’s ideas, many of which have directly led to the current crisis facing vocational education in New Zealand, could be exported to Australia.
As Minister in the last National government, Joyce presided over a period of unprecedented neglect of vocational education.
His legacy includes decisions to starve the sector of funding, remove students and staff from governing councils, undertake countless structural reviews, pursue failed mergers, introduce competition for funding, support for for-profit providers over public institutions, and to turn the sector into a private good for individuals, rather than a public good for all of us.
These ideas should be resisted wherever and whenever they emerge, not least because there is a litany of evidence to prove they fail.