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The Great Trade-off in Vocational Education






Vocational Education has built a wonderful bureaucracy in recent decades. We are now auditing our colleges and producing reports more than ever. We’re also producing more diploma and certificate graduates for the education investment.

There’s been a trade off though –shorter courses, poorer facilities and dissatisfied employers.


What needs to be done?

  • Government should endorse education because it is good, not because it is prepared to run the gambit of bureaucrats.
  • Reduce emphasis on accreditation, increase emphasis on quality education
  • Audit less, teach more. Cap bureaucratic spending (incl. auditing) at 10% of what is spent on course delivery.
  • Reduce bureaucracy.
  • Teachers AND bureaucrats/auditors should be first qualified and experienced in the discipline they deal with –and only once that is achieved, given the teaching skills to educate in that discipline.
  • Embrace diverse, new and innovative approaches to education such as experiential learning, problem based learning, online & distance education etc.



Does Accreditation Impair Innovation in Education?


Many post secondary institutions are finding the bureaucracy involved in dealing with accreditation has become excessive, to the point that it may be decreasing rather than improving the quality of education.


Comments were invited from some industry leaders. See what they have said below.


If you would like to add a comment send it to [email protected]



Comment from John Mason  Principal ACS Distance Education  www.acs.edu.au


After 20 years of having courses both accredited and not accredited; we can see that while accreditation controls how bad a college can get; it also controls how good it can get.

By definition, accreditation systems are naturally trying to fit everyone into the same box.

The problem is that when you have an ethical and innovative college that is trying to do a better and more efficient job; the system can become very limiting. It takes money that might otherwise be spent on teaching; and redirects that money into bureaucracy. It stops rapid changes in courses (in a rapidly changing world), and imposes planning and management processes that make it impossible to keep up with the real needs of the world.

How much then is accreditation a measure of what is good? Maybe it is no more than just a measure of what is not bad

I am forever optimistic; but cannot see how we can approach improved learning while we limit the scope of innovation.

Why do we need accreditation systems anyway?  Is it because our teachers are so incompetent and unethical that they need bureaucrats to control them.  Who then ensures the bureaucrats are competent and ethical though?


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