A leaking student pool

Skills Australia chair Phil Bullock wasn’t happy, in a friendly sort of way, when I suggested that his organisation was a central planning agency (this was at a seminar to discuss the papers that ended up in this publication).

In their recent paper on ‘market design’, they deny that they favour central planning:

It is important to emphasise that Skills Australia does not advocate a ‘central planning agency’ approach based on detailed forecasting of skills.

It’s true that they don’t advocate the kind of micro-level central student place allocations we’ve sometimes seen in higher education. But Skills Australia does want what they call a ‘managed market’, in which governments purchase student places to align them with ‘community and industry needs’.

But I’m not sure that they have really thought enough about how this works in practice. With the central planner’s mindset, they want to shape student behaviour largely by restricting options: Continue reading “A leaking student pool”