Could we have a real ‘education revolution’?

Submissions to the Bradley review of higher education policy are now appearing on the DEEWR website. As a veteran of such reviews – this is the third comprehensive review I have been involved with in just over a decade – my expectations of its outcomes are modest. I have two failures behind me.

But in The Weekend Australian yesterday there was some sign that the government is thinking seriously about the structural issues that keep the education system so far below its potential. In a page one story, they report a proposal to use federal incentive payments to get funding for vocational education to be based on student demand (aka vouchers) rather than institutional grants.

If vocational education, why not higher education? There are no states to deal with, just a Senate in which Labor would get an overwhelming majority if a party that has no ideological grounds for opposing student choice voted with it (despite its failure to implement it while in office).

I’ve yet to read more than a handful of submissions to the review, but both the University of Melbourne submission (pdf) and my own submission (pdf) explain how the current system of centralised allocation is highly dysfunctional.
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