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ࡱ> []XYZ'`  bjbjLULU ;.?.?&8܋u(,"NNN)ǐ4$hybס))ססNN/+++סNN+ס++VD@N FBoZ t E0uTߤ+4uססססp ATLd>p TL The significance of Australian vocational education institutions in opening access to higher education Gavin Moodie, and Leesa Wheelahan, Faculty of Education, Griffith University, Mt Gravatt, Queensland, 4122, Australia Abstract Vocational education provides an educational but not a social ladder of opportunity to Australian higher education. Five dual-sector universities with significant enrolments in both vocational and higher education admit about twice the proportion of students transferring from vocational education as single- and mixed-sector universities. But since the students in the upper levels of vocational education have a socio-economic composition similar to higher education students, vocational education does not provide a social ladder of opportunity by increasing access by students from a low socio-economic status background. These are the results of statistics obtained from the Australian Department of Employment, Education, Training and Workplace Relations. The findings support the extension of dual-sector universities and other measures to articulate vocational and higher education, but suggest that more needs to be done to improve the representativeness of the upper levels of vocational education. Key words: vocational education, dual-sector, access, equity, student transfer. Gavin Moodie is Principal Policy Adviser at Griffith University and a regular correspondent on higher education for the Australian, the national daily newspaper. Leesa Wheelahan is Senior Lecturer in Adult and Vocational Education at Griffith University and advises the Australian and State governments on relations between vocational and higher education. Introduction Like Canada and the USA, Australia is a federation, and also like those and most other federations, the Australian constitution allocates responsibility for education to the State Governments. But Australia is unlike Canada, the USA and other federations in having shifted the main financing responsibility and thus power over higher education from the States to the Commonwealth Government. This is in contrast to vocational education, where the Commonwealth sets the overall framework but where the States retain important shared responsibility for policy and funding and sole responsibility for its management. This is one but as will be shown not the only reason for the deep divide between vocational and higher education in Australia, a divide that has started to be addressed by the Commonwealth since about 2005 and is being addressed to different extents by the States. The current arrangement of Australian higher education was largely set in 1988 when the then minister for employment, education, training and youth affairs John Dawkins established a unified national system of higher education (Dawkins, 2008) by removing the distinction between universities and former colleges of advanced education, introducing sizeable tuition fees paid by income contingent loans, and by allocated institutions block research funding according to their share of research grants from all sources (57%), research degree completions (27%), research degree enrolments (8%) and number of publications (8%). Since Dawkins the main role of higher education explicit in Government policy has been the formation of human capital. In Dawkins (1988) white paper and in the most recent official contribution to Australian higher education policy, the final report of the Bradley (2008) review of Australian higher education, national policy makers have sought to project the economys future aggregate need for graduates, usually by extrapolating from the proportions of baccalaureates in leading OECD countries. Governments have also sought to plan the supply of graduates for occupations of special interest, but markedly unsuccessfully, for example, in medical education (Brooks et al., 2003). Since the Martin (1964) report on the future of tertiary education in Australia a secondary goal of Australian higher education policy has been to provide higher education to all people who want and may usefully undertake higher education. Whenever the number of places available is significantly less than the number of eligible applicants there is considerable concern amongst applicants, their parents, prospective employers and the community generally about what the headline writers call unmet demand for higher education. State tertiary admission centres publish the results of the main student selection round during the summer silly season when news is slow, giving unmet demand considerable prominence and thus political salience (Commonwealth of Australia, 2002, p. 21). The combination of human capital theory, the prominent failures of workforce planning and the importance accorded meeting unmet demand has led Australian policy makers to introduce public higher education student entitlements or vouchers. From 2012 the Australian Government will remove all institutional caps on higher education enrolments and fund higher education institutions by the number of full-time equivalent students they enrol in each differently funded discipline (Gillard, 2009). Until recently Australian vocational education policy has been driven by very different dynamics. Since at least the late 1980s Australian vocational education policy has been to meet employers needs, which often has been expressed as meeting industrys needs (Australian National Training Authority, 1998, p. 5). This has meant different things at different times. The most profound change has been to construct programs by introducing so called training packages. A training package is the definition of a national qualification by the workplace competences needed to be demonstrated by a graduate. Three aspects of this statement of training packages are important. First, Australian national vocational qualifications are not defined by content but by outcomes. Just as there is no such thing as society in Thatchers Britain, so there is no such thing as curriculum in Australian national vocational education qualification statements. Of course teachers, departments and some institutions develop curricula - mostly without the support of curriculum experts and collaboration with colleagues in other institutions - but these are not formally part of the national qualification and employers, government policy makers and funders vigorously resist attempts to institutionalise curriculum. Secondly, vocational qualifications outcomes are defined not by skills nor by attributes and still less by knowledge, but by competences, which are called competencies. That is, vocational qualifications outcomes are behaviourist. They are also atomised. All qualifications with a nominal duration of 1 year specify at least a dozen competences and many specify over 100 which have to be assessed and reported separately. Thirdly, the competences are those of the workplace and must be assessed either in the workplace or in a simulated workplace. So developing study skills and the skills to proceed to further education in the field are not workplace competences, are irrelevant to training packages and thus are mostly not funded by government (Wheelahan and Carter, 2001). Some 95% of Australian higher education is offered by 37 public universities that have the familiar coinciding gradations of age, status, funding level and research intensity. There are two small private not for profit Australian universities and in 2006 the South Australian government subsidised a private not for profit US university to establish in its capital Adelaide a small presence of 61 full-time equivalent students. There are 65 non university providers, most of which are for profit colleges which enrolled 57% of private full-time equivalent students in 2007. Religious colleges enrolled 24% of private students. Several universities have established preparatory colleges as private entities and these enrolled 17% of private students in 2007. Six public vocational education and training institutes, known as Technical and Further Education institutes, offer associate and full degrees. Until 2010 these have not been funded publicly and so are private enrolments, being 2% of all private students in 2007. Some 85% of Australian publicly funded vocational education is offered by 59 Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutes (the analogues of British further education colleges) and by 100 other government providers, 81 of which are in New South Wales and most of which are small. Some 5% of publicly funded vocational education is offered by 529 community education providers, most of which are also small, and 10% of vocational education is offered by 1,384 other registered providers, mostly private for profit bodies. Some 84% of full-time equivalent vocational education is funded by government, 12% from domestic students full fees and 5% from international fee paying students (NCVER, 2008a, p. 14-15). Australia has a concept of study load to record the amount of time a student is engaged in tertiary education. The Australian Government provides student income support only to students who are engaged in 75% of a full-time study load and issues visas only to international students who are engaged in 75% of a full-time load. Each institutions workload is reported as the sum of their students study load and this is a basic unit for allocating resources to and within institutions. So students study loads are routinely calculated for faculties, departments, programs, subjects and, increasingly, for teaching staff. Higher education study load is measured in equivalent full-time student load. One equivalent full-time student load is the study load that a full-time student would normally take in that year for that program at that institution. Australian equivalent full-time student load may be expressed as full-time equivalent students for familiarity for UK readers. Study load in vocational education is measured in nominal hours, which are the hours of supervised learning and/or training deemed necessary to conduct training/learning and assessment for a program. A full-time study load in vocational education is 720 nominal hours a year (NCVER, 2008a, p. 19). There is a strong coincidence of the programmatic and institutional designations of tertiary education sectors in Australia: vocational education is understood as the education that is predominantly offered by vocational education institutions, and higher education is understood to be the education that is predominantly offered by higher education institutions (Moodie, 2003). This understanding will be followed in most of this article, but for the purposes of an appropriate international comparison with table 1 in the source paper (Parry, 2008) and with the figures for Canada and the USA (see Doughertys and Jones papers in this issue of the journal), UNESCOs (2007) commonly accepted International Standard Classification of Education will be used. This classifies Australian diplomas and advanced diplomas as higher education, notwithstanding that they are predominantly offered by vocational education institutions. Student participation is reported as full-time equivalent students rather than as enrolments or head counts because 88% of Australian vocational education students study part-time (less than 75% of a full-time equivalent student) and many of those have a very light study load, perhaps just one subject in one year taken as part of an employers internal training program or to fulfil the requirements of an occupational certification. So head counts give a misleading impression of the size of the sector. Vocational education institutions enrol just over 90,300 full-time equivalent higher education students. Another difference from Parrys table is the separation of undergraduate full-time equivalent students into bachelor students and students enrolled in subgraduate diplomas, advanced diplomas and associate degrees. This makes clear that 99% of higher education students enrolled by vocational education institutions are in sub graduate programs, mostly diplomas and advanced diplomas (table 1). Table 1: domestic higher education full time equivalent students by level of study and location of teaching, Australia, 2006 InstitutionsUndergraduatePostgraduateAll full time equivalent studentsDiploma, Assoc degreeBachelorHigher education373415,50282,173498,048Vocational education89,24686126190,360All institutions89,619416,36382,434588,408 Sources: DEST (2007), NCVER (2008b). Expressing Parrys table and table 1 as percentages to facilitate comparison shows that Australian vocational education institutions have a somewhat bigger share of higher education enrolments (15%) than English further education colleges (11%, table 2). Community colleges share of higher education enrolments range from 15% to almost 70% in US States but average 35% nationally in the US and under 40% in Canada (see Doughertys and Jones papers in this issue of the journal). So vocational education institutions offer a moderate proportion of Australian higher education. Table 2: proportion of higher education undergraduate and postgraduate students enrolled by vocational education institutions in Australia and England (%) CountryUndergraduatePostgraduateTotalAustralia180.315England10311 The large majority of Australian students commute to higher education from their parents or their own home and correspondingly few Australian students travel to another city to attend higher education. Only 16% of Australasian first year and 7% of later year students report living on campus in a university college or hall of residence (ACER, 2008, p. 16). In addition students live in private accommodation away from home, but many and possibly most students living in both university and private accommodation attend a higher education institution in the same city as their permanent home location. This geographical immobility means that institutions recruitment of domestic students is mostly restricted to their immediate region, even within their part of their city if they are located in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Perth which are big cities by Australian standards with populations of more than 1.5 million. Single-sector, mixed-sector and dual-sector institutions Whether as vestiges of history or to provide pathway programs for international students, many Australian universities offer vocational education programs. However, most Australian universities vocational education programs are offered for full tuition fees, are small in size, confined to one campus (Australian universities have an average of 3.4 campuses), are in one or two disciplines, and many are offered through separate organizational units rather than through the faculties and schools that offer higher education programs. They therefore have little if any impact on the university outside their immediate area. Dual-sector universities first identified themselves as being distinctive in having to manage dual systems and processes to report to two levels of government vocational education to the State Government and higher education to the Australian Government. Where vocational education is a small part of a universitys operations it can be handled as an exception to the structures, systems and processes established to handle higher education. But where vocational education is a substantial part of the universitys operations a separate system has to be established to handle it. Vocational education must also be a substantial proportion of the universitys full-time equivalent students to affect higher education (Moodie, 2009). Dual-sector universities have never specified the proportion of load needed in each sector to be considered substantial and classified as a dual-sector university. The issue can be put rigorously by asking: how high a proportion of total student load must vocational education be before it is no longer considered an exception and is generally accepted as a normal part of the institution? Moodie (2009) related this to the concept of tipping point ( HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morton_Grodzins" \o "Morton Grodzins" Grodzins, 1958) and referred to a number of empirical studies of different tipping points to posit that an institution is dual-sector when its student load in each sector ranges from a minimum of 20% and a maximum of 80%. A tripartite classification of institutions by their mix of sectoral student load is thus proposed: single-sector institutions those with more than 97% of their student load enrolled in 1 sector; mixed-sector institutions those with at least 3% but no more than 20% of their student load enrolled in their minority sector; and dual-sector institutions those with at least 20% but less than 80% of their student load enrolled in each sector. Five or 13% of Australian universities are dual-sector. There are no data readily available which would allow one to calculate the number of mixed sector universities, but at the most 10% of universities are mixed-sector and therefore 77% are single-sector on these definitions. Because of the lack of data the rest of this paper will compare dual-sector with other universities to consider the extent to which dual-sector and other universities provide educational and social ladders of opportunity from vocational to higher education. Educational ladder of opportunity There is an educational ladder of opportunity where students who perform satisfactorily at one level of education may transfer readily to a higher level of education. One perspective on whether vocational education provides an educational ladder of opportunity is given by examining the destination of vocational education graduates. Only diploma graduates are automatically eligible for entry to higher education, and just over 10% of vocational education students were enrolled in diplomas and advanced diplomas in 2003 (NCVER, 2004, table 18). Stanwick (2006, p. 31-2) reports that around 32% of students aged under 25 in 2003 who completed a vocational education diploma or above proceeded to study a degree, as did around 14% of vocational education diploma graduates aged over 25. In some fields of education such as banking and accountancy over 50% of vocational education diploma graduates aged under 25 proceed to study at degree which shows that these students were using their vocational education qualification primarily as a pathway to higher education (Stanwick, 2006, p. 31-2). Another perspective on the educational ladder of opportunity is the chance of vocational education applicants being selected for admission. Wheelahan (2009) reported that of the 1,862 applicants for an undergraduate place in Queensland who had completed TAFE studies 95% were offered a higher education place in 2008 and 78% enrolled in it. Applicants with completed TAFE studies in Queensland have the highest acceptance and enrolment rates of any applicant type. The offer rate for applicants with completed TAFE studies is somewhat lower in Victoria, but it is nonetheless similar to or above those for all other applicant types except school leavers (table 3). Table 3: Applications, offer and enrolment rates for undergraduate programs in Queensland and Victoria for admission in 2008 Applicant typeApplicants% offered% enrolledQldVicQldVicQldVicSchool leaver28,17551,18192866666Completed HE studies4,2613,43892766253Incomplete HE studies9,4548,04686757570Completed TAFE studies1,8628,37295747871Incomplete TAFE studies1,1281,97380717673Other non school leaver qualified6,96737885577572No qualification1,3105263Total51,84774,69890826967 Sources: QTAC (2007-2008), VTAC (2007-2008) A third perspective on the educational ladder of opportunity is given by examining the basis of admission of domestic students commencing a program at bachelor level. Wheelahan (2009) found that 11% of students were admitted to a bachelor degree or below on the basis of a vocational education qualification, which is the third biggest identified source of commencing undergraduate students after secondary education (49%) and higher education (24%). One explanation for what may seem to be an unusually high 24% of commencing students being admitted on the basis of previous higher education studies is that the data are for students beginning a program at an institution, not necessarily at first year. So a student transferring from a bachelor of arts to a bachelor of laws at the same institution is a commencing student and a student transferring from a bachelor of arts at one institution to a bachelor of arts at another institution is also a commencing student. Dual-sector universities admitted 18% of their undergraduate students on the basis of a vocational education qualification, thus providing almost double the access for vocational education students than single- and mixed-sector universities (table 4). Table 4: basis of admission of domestic students commencing a program at bachelor level or below by type of university, 2007 (%) University typeSecondary educationHigher educationVocational educationSpecial entryOtherDual universities47221739Single and mixed sector universities47239612All public universities 472310512 Source: DEEWR (2008) The dual-sector universities admit distinctly different proportions of students transferring from vocational education (Wheelahan, 2009), reflecting different institutional priorities and practices (table 5). The percentage of students admitted on the basis of prior vocational education by the University of Ballarat stands out for being so low, but this seems to be a problem with reporting. The Universitys Vice-Chancellor Professor Battersby reported that around one in six or almost 17% of students in higher education at the University had either studied at TAFE or had a prior VET qualification, and this brings it into line with the other dual-sector universities (Wheelahan, 2009). Correcting this would increase the dual-sector universities proportion of students admitted on the basis of vocational education, making it even higher than other universities. Table 5: basis of admission of domestic students commencing a program at bachelor level or below for dual-sector universities, 2007 (%) UniversitySecondary educationHigher educationVocational educationSpecial entryOtherBallarat61121421Charles Darwin 192915828RMIT 60201910Swinburne 46212703Victoria University 402416611All dual-sectors47221739 Source: DEEWR (2008) All three perspectives show that vocational education provides an educational ladder of opportunity to higher education. The dual-sector universities provide a much better educational ladder than single- and mixed-sector universities, and this is affected by institutional practices and policies. Social ladder of opportunity There is a social ladder of opportunity when a persons chances of participating in any level of education is not affected by their social circumstances, and this paper examines participation in higher education by socio-economic status. Socio-economic status is measured by postcode area in Australian education, and low socio-economic status is defined as the lowest 25% of postcodes, medium as the middle 50% and high socio-economic status as the top 25% of postcodes. Wheelahan (2009) found, replicating many previous findings, that Australian universities undergraduate admissions are biased to high socio-economic status, with 33% of admissions compared to their representation in the population of 25%. Conversely, low socio-economic status students are significantly under represented in Australian higher education, being only 17% and thus well below their proportionate representation of 25%. Low socio-economic status students are 20% of students admitted on the basis vocational education, only slightly above the rate for all students. While low socio-economic status students are over represented amongst special entry applicants, these are only 4% of total applicants (Wheelahan, 2009) (table 6). Table 6: socio-economic status of commencing undergraduate students by basis of admission, 2007 (%) Basis for admissionShare of admissionsSocio-economic statusLowMediumHighSecondary education49164736Higher education24154637Vocational education11205227Special entry4275220Other12205028Total100174833Parity255025 Source: DEEWR (2008) Wheelahan (2009) also found that vocational education doesnt provide a better social ladder of opportunity at most dual-sector universities than at other universities. The proportion of low socio-economic status students that most dual-sector universities admit on the basis of vocational education reflects very closely the proportion of low socio-economic students they admit by all other means. The two exceptions are the University of Ballarat, which as was noted above has probably not reported accurate data, and Charles Darwin University (table 7). Charles Darwin University seems to be an exception to the general pattern which warrants further examination. Table 7: dual-sector universities: overall low socio-economic status (SES), % admitted on basis of prior vocational education and SES of those admitted on basis of prior VET, 2007 University% All low SES studentsAdmitted on the basis of prior vocational educationLow SESMedium SESHigh SESAllRMIT 1717423919Swinburne 1211424627Ballarat22386301Victoria University 2528472117Charles Darwin 1223611315Dual-sectors total 1819463317 Vocational education doesnt provide a broad social ladder of opportunity because as Foley (2007, p. 27) found, the socio-economic status of students in the upper levels of vocational education approximates the socio-economic status of students in higher education. While vocational education has a broadly representative student population overall, low socio-economic status students are concentrated in lower level vocational qualifications (table 8). Foleys index of socio-economic status is somewhat different to the index used in higher education, but he used the same postcode method and set the thresholds for low, medium and high socio-economic status at the same levels as for higher education, so his results are broadly comparable to higher education. Table 8: socio-economic groups share of each vocational education qualification level, 2001 QualificationLowMediumHighDiploma and higher 195327Certificate IV 265122Certificate III 285319Certificate II 335116Certificate I 345214Total295219Parity255025 Source: derived from Foley (2007, p. 27) Table 3: AQF level by socio-economic group, 2001 Conclusion Vocational education provides a reasonable educational ladder of opportunity to Australian higher education, and the dual-sector universities with significant full-time equivalent students in both vocational and higher education currently provide a particularly strong educational ladder. This is a considerable improvement on the proportion of vocational education students admitted by the dual-sector universities in 2000 (Moodie, 2007) and there remain differences in the strength of the educational ladder provided by different dual-sector universities. This suggests that the educational ladder of opportunity may be influenced by institutional practices, by institutional policies and also by government policies. However, vocational education does not provide a social ladder of opportunity to higher education, and this is a reflection of the socio economic composition of the upper levels of vocational education which resembles that of higher education. This is true even of the dual-sector universities with the exception of Charles Darwin University, which warrants further examination. This reinforces much other work that finds that most universities do not broaden the composition of their student intakes beyond their immediate feeder group. To improve vocational educations social ladder of opportunity the upper levels of vocational education must include a student population that is much more representative of its lower levels and thus of the population as a whole. References Australian Council for Educational Research (2008), Attracting, engaging and retaining: new conversations about learning, AUSSE 2007 Australasian student engagement report, http://www.acer.edu.au/ausse/reports.html (accessed 22 April 2009). Australian National Training Authority (ANTA) (1998), A bridge to the future: Australias national strategy for vocational education and training 1998 2003 (Brisbane, Australian National Training Authority). Bradley, Denise (chair) (2008) Review of Australian higher education (2008), Final report,  HYPERLINK "http://www.deewr.gov.au/he_review_finalreport" www.deewr.gov.au/he_review_finalreport (accessed 22 April 2009). 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ࡱ> []XYZ'`  bjbjLULU ;.?.?&8܋u(,"NNN)ǐ4$hybס))ססNN/+++סNN+ס++VD@N FBoZ t E0uTߤ+4uססססp ATLd>p TL The significance of Australian vocational education institutions in opening access to higher education Gavin Moodie, and Leesa Wheelahan, Faculty of Education, Griffith University, Mt Gravatt, Queensland, 4122, Australia Abstract Vocational education provides an educational but not a social ladder of opportunity to Australian higher education. Five dual-sector universities with significant enrolments in both vocational and higher education admit about twice the proportion of students transferring from vocational education as single- and mixed-sector universities. But since the students in the upper levels of vocational education have a socio-economic composition similar to higher education students, vocational education does not provide a social ladder of opportunity by increasing access by students from a low socio-economic status background. These are the results of statistics obtained from the Australian Department of Employment, Education, Training and Workplace Relations. The findings support the extension of dual-sector universities and other measures to articulate vocational and higher education, but suggest that more needs to be done to improve the representativeness of the upper levels of vocational education. Key words: vocational education, dual-sector, access, equity, student transfer. Gavin Moodie is Principal Policy Adviser at Griffith University and a regular correspondent on higher education for the Australian, the national daily newspaper. Leesa Wheelahan is Senior Lecturer in Adult and Vocational Education at Griffith University and advises the Australian and State governments on relations between vocational and higher education. Introduction Like Canada and the USA, Australia is a federation, and also like those and most other federations, the Australian constitution allocates responsibility for education to the State Governments. But Australia is unlike Canada, the USA and other federations in having shifted the main financing responsibility and thus power over higher education from the States to the Commonwealth Government. This is in contrast to vocational education, where the Commonwealth sets the overall framework but where the States retain important shared responsibility for policy and funding and sole responsibility for its management. This is one but as will be shown not the only reason for the deep divide between vocational and higher education in Australia, a divide that has started to be addressed by the Commonwealth since about 2005 and is being addressed to different extents by the States. The current arrangement of Australian higher education was largely set in 1988 when the then minister for employment, education, training and youth affairs John Dawkins established a unified national system of higher education (Dawkins, 2008) by removing the distinction between universities and former colleges of advanced education, introducing sizeable tuition fees paid by income contingent loans, and by allocated institutions block research funding according to their share of research grants from all sources (57%), research degree completions (27%), research degree enrolments (8%) and number of publications (8%). Since Dawkins the main role of higher education explicit in Government policy has been the formation of human capital. In Dawkins (1988) white paper and in the most recent official contribution to Australian higher education policy, the final report of the Bradley (2008) review of Australian higher education, national policy makers have sought to project the economys future aggregate need for graduates, usually by extrapolating from the proportions of baccalaureates in leading OECD countries. Governments have also sought to plan the supply of graduates for occupations of special interest, but markedly unsuccessfully, for example, in medical education (Brooks et al., 2003). Since the Martin (1964) report on the future of tertiary education in Australia a secondary goal of Australian higher education policy has been to provide higher education to all people who want and may usefully undertake higher education. Whenever the number of places available is significantly less than the number of eligible applicants there is considerable concern amongst applicants, their parents, prospective employers and the community generally about what the headline writers call unmet demand for higher education. State tertiary admission centres publish the results of the main student selection round during the summer silly season when news is slow, giving unmet demand considerable prominence and thus political salience (Commonwealth of Australia, 2002, p. 21). The combination of human capital theory, the prominent failures of workforce planning and the importance accorded meeting unmet demand has led Australian policy makers to introduce public higher education student entitlements or vouchers. From 2012 the Australian Government will remove all institutional caps on higher education enrolments and fund higher education institutions by the number of full-time equivalent students they enrol in each differently funded discipline (Gillard, 2009). Until recently Australian vocational education policy has been driven by very different dynamics. Since at least the late 1980s Australian vocational education policy has been to meet employers needs, which often has been expressed as meeting industrys needs (Australian National Training Authority, 1998, p. 5). This has meant different things at different times. The most profound change has been to construct programs by introducing so called training packages. A training package is the definition of a national qualification by the workplace competences needed to be demonstrated by a graduate. Three aspects of this statement of training packages are important. First, Australian national vocational qualifications are not defined by content but by outcomes. Just as there is no such thing as society in Thatchers Britain, so there is no such thing as curriculum in Australian national vocational education qualification statements. Of course teachers, departments and some institutions develop curricula - mostly without the support of curriculum experts and collaboration with colleagues in other institutions - but these are not formally part of the national qualification and employers, government policy makers and funders vigorously resist attempts to institutionalise curriculum. Secondly, vocational qualifications outcomes are defined not by skills nor by attributes and still less by knowledge, but by competences, which are called competencies. That is, vocational qualifications outcomes are behaviourist. They are also atomised. All qualifications with a nominal duration of 1 year specify at least a dozen competences and many specify over 100 which have to be assessed and reported separately. Thirdly, the competences are those of the workplace and must be assessed either in the workplace or in a simulated workplace. So developing study skills and the skills to proceed to further education in the field are not workplace competences, are irrelevant to training packages and thus are mostly not funded by government (Wheelahan and Carter, 2001). Some 95% of Australian higher education is offered by 37 public universities that have the familiar coinciding gradations of age, status, funding level and research intensity. There are two small private not for profit Australian universities and in 2006 the South Australian government subsidised a private not for profit US university to establish in its capital Adelaide a small presence of 61 full-time equivalent students. There are 65 non university providers, most of which are for profit colleges which enrolled 57% of private full-time equivalent students in 2007. Religious colleges enrolled 24% of private students. Several universities have established preparatory colleges as private entities and these enrolled 17% of private students in 2007. Six public vocational education and training institutes, known as Technical and Further Education institutes, offer associate and full degrees. Until 2010 these have not been funded publicly and so are private enrolments, being 2% of all private students in 2007. Some 85% of Australian publicly funded vocational education is offered by 59 Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutes (the analogues of British further education colleges) and by 100 other government providers, 81 of which are in New South Wales and most of which are small. Some 5% of publicly funded vocational education is offered by 529 community education providers, most of which are also small, and 10% of vocational education is offered by 1,384 other registered providers, mostly private for profit bodies. Some 84% of full-time equivalent vocational education is funded by government, 12% from domestic students full fees and 5% from international fee paying students (NCVER, 2008a, p. 14-15). Australia has a concept of study load to record the amount of time a student is engaged in tertiary education. The Australian Government provides student income support only to students who are engaged in 75% of a full-time study load and issues visas only to international students who are engaged in 75% of a full-time load. Each institutions workload is reported as the sum of their students study load and this is a basic unit for allocating resources to and within institutions. So students study loads are routinely calculated for faculties, departments, programs, subjects and, increasingly, for teaching staff. Higher education study load is measured in equivalent full-time student load. One equivalent full-time student load is the study load that a full-time student would normally take in that year for that program at that institution. Australian equivalent full-time student load may be expressed as full-time equivalent students for familiarity for UK readers. Study load in vocational education is measured in nominal hours, which are the hours of supervised learning and/or training deemed necessary to conduct training/learning and assessment for a program. A full-time study load in vocational education is 720 nominal hours a year (NCVER, 2008a, p. 19). There is a strong coincidence of the programmatic and institutional designations of tertiary education sectors in Australia: vocational education is understood as the education that is predominantly offered by vocational education institutions, and higher education is understood to be the education that is predominantly offered by higher education institutions (Moodie, 2003). This understanding will be followed in most of this article, but for the purposes of an appropriate international comparison with table 1 in the source paper (Parry, 2008) and with the figures for Canada and the USA (see Doughertys and Jones papers in this issue of the journal), UNESCOs (2007) commonly accepted International Standard Classification of Education will be used. This classifies Australian diplomas and advanced diplomas as higher education, notwithstanding that they are predominantly offered by vocational education institutions. Student participation is reported as full-time equivalent students rather than as enrolments or head counts because 88% of Australian vocational education students study part-time (less than 75% of a full-time equivalent student) and many of those have a very light study load, perhaps just one subject in one year taken as part of an employers internal training program or to fulfil the requirements of an occupational certification. So head counts give a misleading impression of the size of the sector. Vocational education institutions enrol just over 90,300 full-time equivalent higher education students. Another difference from Parrys table is the separation of undergraduate full-time equivalent students into bachelor students and students enrolled in subgraduate diplomas, advanced diplomas and associate degrees. This makes clear that 99% of higher education students enrolled by vocational education institutions are in sub graduate programs, mostly diplomas and advanced diplomas (table 1). Table 1: domestic higher education full time equivalent students by level of study and location of teaching, Australia, 2006 InstitutionsUndergraduatePostgraduateAll full time equivalent studentsDiploma, Assoc degreeBachelorHigher education373415,50282,173498,048Vocational education89,24686126190,360All institutions89,619416,36382,434588,408 Sources: DEST (2007), NCVER (2008b). Expressing Parrys table and table 1 as percentages to facilitate comparison shows that Australian vocational education institutions have a somewhat bigger share of higher education enrolments (15%) than English further education colleges (11%, table 2). Community colleges share of higher education enrolments range from 15% to almost 70% in US States but average 35% nationally in the US and under 40% in Canada (see Doughertys and Jones papers in this issue of the journal). So vocational education institutions offer a moderate proportion of Australian higher education. Table 2: proportion of higher education undergraduate and postgraduate students enrolled by vocational education institutions in Australia and England (%) CountryUndergraduatePostgraduateTotalAustralia180.315England10311 The large majority of Australian students commute to higher education from their parents or their own home and correspondingly few Australian students travel to another city to attend higher education. Only 16% of Australasian first year and 7% of later year students report living on campus in a university college or hall of residence (ACER, 2008, p. 16). In addition students live in private accommodation away from home, but many and possibly most students living in both university and private accommodation attend a higher education institution in the same city as their permanent home location. This geographical immobility means that institutions recruitment of domestic students is mostly restricted to their immediate region, even within their part of their city if they are located in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Perth which are big cities by Australian standards with populations of more than 1.5 million. Single-sector, mixed-sector and dual-sector institutions Whether as vestiges of history or to provide pathway programs for international students, many Australian universities offer vocational education programs. However, most Australian universities vocational education programs are offered for full tuition fees, are small in size, confined to one campus (Australian universities have an average of 3.4 campuses), are in one or two disciplines, and many are offered through separate organizational units rather than through the faculties and schools that offer higher education programs. They therefore have little if any impact on the university outside their immediate area. Dual-sector universities first identified themselves as being distinctive in having to manage dual systems and processes to report to two levels of government vocational education to the State Government and higher education to the Australian Government. Where vocational education is a small part of a universitys operations it can be handled as an exception to the structures, systems and processes established to handle higher education. But where vocational education is a substantial part of the universitys operations a separate system has to be established to handle it. Vocational education must also be a substantial proportion of the universitys full-time equivalent students to affect higher education (Moodie, 2009). Dual-sector universities have never specified the proportion of load needed in each sector to be considered substantial and classified as a dual-sector university. The issue can be put rigorously by asking: how high a proportion of total student load must vocational education be before it is no longer considered an exception and is generally accepted as a normal part of the institution? Moodie (2009) related this to the concept of tipping point ( HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morton_Grodzins" \o "Morton Grodzins" Grodzins, 1958) and referred to a number of empirical studies of different tipping points to posit that an institution is dual-sector when its student load in each sector ranges from a minimum of 20% and a maximum of 80%. A tripartite classification of institutions by their mix of sectoral student load is thus proposed: single-sector institutions those with more than 97% of their student load enrolled in 1 sector; mixed-sector institutions those with at least 3% but no more than 20% of their student load enrolled in their minority sector; and dual-sector institutions those with at least 20% but less than 80% of their student load enrolled in each sector. Five or 13% of Australian universities are dual-sector. There are no data readily available which would allow one to calculate the number of mixed sector universities, but at the most 10% of universities are mixed-sector and therefore 77% are single-sector on these definitions. Because of the lack of data the rest of this paper will compare dual-sector with other universities to consider the extent to which dual-sector and other universities provide educational and social ladders of opportunity from vocational to higher education. Educational ladder of opportunity There is an educational ladder of opportunity where students who perform satisfactorily at one level of education may transfer readily to a higher level of education. One perspective on whether vocational education provides an educational ladder of opportunity is given by examining the destination of vocational education graduates. Only diploma graduates are automatically eligible for entry to higher education, and just over 10% of vocational education students were enrolled in diplomas and advanced diplomas in 2003 (NCVER, 2004, table 18). Stanwick (2006, p. 31-2) reports that around 32% of students aged under 25 in 2003 who completed a vocational education diploma or above proceeded to study a degree, as did around 14% of vocational education diploma graduates aged over 25. In some fields of education such as banking and accountancy over 50% of vocational education diploma graduates aged under 25 proceed to study at degree which shows that these students were using their vocational education qualification primarily as a pathway to higher education (Stanwick, 2006, p. 31-2). Another perspective on the educational ladder of opportunity is the chance of vocational education applicants being selected for admission. Wheelahan (2009) reported that of the 1,862 applicants for an undergraduate place in Queensland who had completed TAFE studies 95% were offered a higher education place in 2008 and 78% enrolled in it. Applicants with completed TAFE studies in Queensland have the highest acceptance and enrolment rates of any applicant type. The offer rate for applicants with completed TAFE studies is somewhat lower in Victoria, but it is nonetheless similar to or above those for all other applicant types except school leavers (table 3). Table 3: Applications, offer and enrolment rates for undergraduate programs in Queensland and Victoria for admission in 2008 Applicant typeApplicants% offered% enrolledQldVicQldVicQldVicSchool leaver28,17551,18192866666Completed HE studies4,2613,43892766253Incomplete HE studies9,4548,04686757570Completed TAFE studies1,8628,37295747871Incomplete TAFE studies1,1281,97380717673Other non school leaver qualified6,96737885577572No qualification1,3105263Total51,84774,69890826967 Sources: QTAC (2007-2008), VTAC (2007-2008) A third perspective on the educational ladder of opportunity is given by examining the basis of admission of domestic students commencing a program at bachelor level. Wheelahan (2009) found that 11% of students were admitted to a bachelor degree or below on the basis of a vocational education qualification, which is the third biggest identified source of commencing undergraduate students after secondary education (49%) and higher education (24%). One explanation for what may seem to be an unusually high 24% of commencing students being admitted on the basis of previous higher education studies is that the data are for students beginning a program at an institution, not necessarily at first year. So a student transferring from a bachelor of arts to a bachelor of laws at the same institution is a commencing student and a student transferring from a bachelor of arts at one institution to a bachelor of arts at another institution is also a commencing student. Dual-sector universities admitted 18% of their undergraduate students on the basis of a vocational education qualification, thus providing almost double the access for vocational education students than single- and mixed-sector universities (table 4). Table 4: basis of admission of domestic students commencing a program at bachelor level or below by type of university, 2007 (%) University typeSecondary educationHigher educationVocational educationSpecial entryOtherDual universities47221739Single and mixed sector universities47239612All public universities 472310512 Source: DEEWR (2008) The dual-sector universities admit distinctly different proportions of students transferring from vocational education (Wheelahan, 2009), reflecting different institutional priorities and practices (table 5). The percentage of students admitted on the basis of prior vocational education by the University of Ballarat stands out for being so low, but this seems to be a problem with reporting. The Universitys Vice-Chancellor Professor Battersby reported that around one in six or almost 17% of students in higher education at the University had either studied at TAFE or had a prior VET qualification, and this brings it into line with the other dual-sector universities (Wheelahan, 2009). Correcting this would increase the dual-sector universities proportion of students admitted on the basis of vocational education, making it even higher than other universities. Table 5: basis of admission of domestic students commencing a program at bachelor level or below for dual-sector universities, 2007 (%) UniversitySecondary educationHigher educationVocational educationSpecial entryOtherBallarat61121421Charles Darwin 192915828RMIT 60201910Swinburne 46212703Victoria University 402416611All dual-sectors47221739 Source: DEEWR (2008) All three perspectives show that vocational education provides an educational ladder of opportunity to higher education. The dual-sector universities provide a much better educational ladder than single- and mixed-sector universities, and this is affected by institutional practices and policies. Social ladder of opportunity There is a social ladder of opportunity when a persons chances of participating in any level of education is not affected by their social circumstances, and this paper examines participation in higher education by socio-economic status. Socio-economic status is measured by postcode area in Australian education, and low socio-economic status is defined as the lowest 25% of postcodes, medium as the middle 50% and high socio-economic status as the top 25% of postcodes. Wheelahan (2009) found, replicating many previous findings, that Australian universities undergraduate admissions are biased to high socio-economic status, with 33% of admissions compared to their representation in the population of 25%. Conversely, low socio-economic status students are significantly under represented in Australian higher education, being only 17% and thus well below their proportionate representation of 25%. Low socio-economic status students are 20% of students admitted on the basis vocational education, only slightly above the rate for all students. While low socio-economic status students are over represented amongst special entry applicants, these are only 4% of total applicants (Wheelahan, 2009) (table 6). Table 6: socio-economic status of commencing undergraduate students by basis of admission, 2007 (%) Basis for admissionShare of admissionsSocio-economic statusLowMediumHighSecondary education49164736Higher education24154637Vocational education11205227Special entry4275220Other12205028Total100174833Parity255025 Source: DEEWR (2008) Wheelahan (2009) also found that vocational education doesnt provide a better social ladder of opportunity at most dual-sector universities than at other universities. The proportion of low socio-economic status students that most dual-sector universities admit on the basis of vocational education reflects very closely the proportion of low socio-economic students they admit by all other means. The two exceptions are the University of Ballarat, which as was noted above has probably not reported accurate data, and Charles Darwin University (table 7). Charles Darwin University seems to be an exception to the general pattern which warrants further examination. Table 7: dual-sector universities: overall low socio-economic status (SES), % admitted on basis of prior vocational education and SES of those admitted on basis of prior VET, 2007 University% All low SES studentsAdmitted on the basis of prior vocational educationLow SESMedium SESHigh SESAllRMIT 1717423919Swinburne 1211424627Ballarat22386301Victoria University 2528472117Charles Darwin 1223611315Dual-sectors total 1819463317 Vocational education doesnt provide a broad social ladder of opportunity because as Foley (2007, p. 27) found, the socio-economic status of students in the upper levels of vocational education approximates the socio-economic status of students in higher education. While vocational education has a broadly representative student population overall, low socio-economic status students are concentrated in lower level vocational qualifications (table 8). Foleys index of socio-economic status is somewhat different to the index used in higher education, but he used the same postcode method and set the thresholds for low, medium and high socio-economic status at the same levels as for higher education, so his results are broadly comparable to higher education. Table 8: socio-economic groups share of each vocational education qualification level, 2001 QualificationLowMediumHighDiploma and higher 195327Certificate IV 265122Certificate III 285319Certificate II 335116Certificate I 345214Total295219Parity255025 Source: derived from Foley (2007, p. 27) Table 3: AQF level by socio-economic group, 2001 Conclusion Vocational education provides a reasonable educational ladder of opportunity to Australian higher education, and the dual-sector universities with significant full-time equivalent students in both vocational and higher education currently provide a particularly strong educational ladder. This is a considerable improvement on the proportion of vocational education students admitted by the dual-sector universities in 2000 (Moodie, 2007) and there remain differences in the strength of the educational ladder provided by different dual-sector universities. This suggests that the educational ladder of opportunity may be influenced by institutional practices, by institutional policies and also by government policies. However, vocational education does not provide a social ladder of opportunity to higher education, and this is a reflection of the socio economic composition of the upper levels of vocational education which resembles that of higher education. This is true even of the dual-sector universities with the exception of Charles Darwin University, which warrants further examination. This reinforces much other work that finds that most universities do not broaden the composition of their student intakes beyond their immediate feeder group. To improve vocational educations social ladder of opportunity the upper levels of vocational education must include a student population that is much more representative of its lower levels and thus of the population as a whole. References Australian Council for Educational Research (2008), Attracting, engaging and retaining: new conversations about learning, AUSSE 2007 Australasian student engagement report, http://www.acer.edu.au/ausse/reports.html (accessed 22 April 2009). Australian National Training Authority (ANTA) (1998), A bridge to the future: Australias national strategy for vocational education and training 1998 2003 (Brisbane, Australian National Training Authority). Bradley, Denise (chair) (2008) Review of Australian higher education (2008), Final report,  HYPERLINK "http://www.deewr.gov.au/he_review_finalreport" www.deewr.gov.au/he_review_finalreport (accessed 22 April 2009). Brooks, Peter M., Lapsley, Helen M. and Butt, David B (2003), Medical workforce issues in Australia: tomorrows doctors too few, too far, The Medical Journal of Australia, 179 (4) pp.206-8. Commonwealth of Australia (2002), Setting firm foundations: financing Australian higher education, http://www.backingaustraliasfuture.gov.au/publications/setting_firm_foundations/default.htm#contents (accessed 22 April 2009). Dawkins, The Hon J. S., MP (1988), Higher education: a policy statement (the White Paper) (Canberra, Australian Government Publishing Service). Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) Student statistics basis of admission & highest prior qualification for domestic commencing under-graduate students 2005 2007, unpublished table supplied to Wheelahan. Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST) (2007), Students, selected higher education statistics, table 36: actual student load (EFTSL) for all domestic students by State, higher education provider and broad level of course, full year 2006, http://www.dest.gov.au/sectors/higher_education/publications_resources/profiles/students_2006_selected_higher_education_statistics.htm (accessed 22 April 2009). Gillard, Julia (2009), Universities Australia conference - 4 March 2009 - speech, http://www.deewr.gov.au/Ministers/Gillard/Media/Speeches/Pages/Article_090304_155721.aspx (accessed 22 April 2009). Grodzins, M. (1958), The metropolitan area as a racial problem (Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Press). Martin L. H. (chair) (1964), Australian Universities Commission, Committee on the Future of Tertiary Education in Australia, Report (Canberra, Government Printer). Moodie, Gavin (2003), The missing link in Australian tertiary education: short-cycle higher education, International Journal of Training Research, volume 1, number 1, pp. 44-63. Moodie, Gavin (2007), Do tiers affect student transfer? Examining the student admission ratio, Community College Journal of Research & Practice, volume 31 issue 11 (November), pp. 847-861. Moodie, Gavin (2009), Australia: the emergence of dual sector universities, in Garrod, Neil and Macfarlane, Bruce (Eds.) Challenging boundaries. Managing the integration of post-secondary education (New York, Routledge, Taylor and Francis). National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) (2004), Australian vocational education and training statistics. Students and courses 2003 (Adelaide, National Centre for Vocational Education Research). National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) (2008a), Australian vocational education and training statistics: students and courses 2007, http://www.ncver.edu.au/statistic/publications/2019.html (accessed 22 April 2009). National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) (2008b) Vocational course enrolments and annual hours by student type by qualifications level (diploma and above) for Australia 2006, table supplied by Marc Ruediger, NCVER, 12 September 2008 from the national VET provider collection. Parry, Gareth (2008), Higher and further education: the significance of sectors for expansion, differentiation and participation in undergraduate education in England (mimeo). Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC) (2007-2008), Table 18 Analysis of origin and level of highest entry qualification, http://www.qtac.edu.au/Statistics/2007-2008.htm (accessed 22 April 2009). Stanwick, John (2006). Outcomes from higher-level vocational education and training qualifications (Adelaide, National Centre for Vocational Education Research), http://www.ncver.edu.au/publications/1702.html (accessed 22 April 2009). United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) (1997), International Standard Classification of Education http://www.unesco.org/education/docs/isced_1997.htm (accessed 22 April 2009). Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC) (2007-2008), Section A, Undergraduate Systems Data, A 2: Analysis of UG Applications, Offers, Enrolments and Deferments by Category, http://www.vtac.edu.au/pdf/stats/2007-2008/2007_2008_Section_A.pdf (accessed 22 April 2009). Wheelahan, Leesa (2009), What kind of access does VET provide to higher education for low SES students? Not a lot, paper prepared for the student equity in higher education forum, University of South Australia, 2526 February, http://www.unisa.edu.au/hawkeinstitute/ncsehe/student-equity-forum-2009/default.asp (accessed 22 April 2009). Wheelahan, Leesa and Carter, Richard (2001), National Training Packages: a new curriculum framework for vocational education and training in Australia, in Education and Training, vol. 43, no. 6.     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