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Minister for Education Dan Tehan interview with Lisa Wilkinson and Peter van Onselen, The Sunday Project

Ministers:

The Hon Dan Tehan MP
Minister for Education

SUBJECTS: Coronavirus and Higher Education Relief Package, Schools, Year 12 students

Lisa Wilkinson: Education Minister Dan Tehan is here to help us answer some of these questions. Dan, this looks like a good initiative. But, are you telling me I can complete a six-month course, and suddenly I’m a nurse or a teacher?

Dan Tehan: No, it’s not quite as simple as that. But, if you are a nurse and you want to specialise in an area, then you would be able to do a six-month course. Or, if you were a teacher and you wanted to improve your skills for online teaching, then you would be able to do a course. Or, if you decide to change careers, this first six months you can get half of a diploma through a diploma certificate, and, then, you go on to get a diploma, if you want to continue on with your studies. So, it really gives you two options: to re-skill, or completely change direction with your career, and try one of these. If, really, you like it, then, away you go, finish your study, and change your careers. It’s where the higher education sector is moving towards. But, we have used this opportunity to be one of the first countries to really put micro-credentialing, or short courses, on the map. And, our hope is, we’ll get about, at least, 20,000 people, wanting to take these up.

Peter van Onselen: Just on that, Minister. Of the 20,000 – the heavily discounted – who qualifies for that position? For those discounts?

Tehan: Yeah, so, anyone who wants to apply to do one of these short courses qualifies for that discount. So, if you've never studied and, all of a sudden, you think, ‘Right, I want to take up nursing. I want to take up IT,’ then, this is for you. Or, if you already have a qualification, but you want to look to move jobs, or you want to upskill, this is for you. And, I’ve got to say, I’ve been super impressed, already, with the way the universities have responded. They are already putting forward ideas as to what these short courses, what areas they could be in, and what do they look like. I think this is going to be a real opportunity for us.

van Onselen: Minister, if I can just jump in there. Yeah, you mentioned before, that nurse, for example, can upskill. Do you really think, when they’re being pushed the way they are at the moment, that any nurse is going to want go home after the day they’ve had, and upskill in one of these courses?

Tehan: Peter, there might have been a nurse who has taken some time out to have some children. So, this could be the perfect time for them to say, ‘Okay, I know that nursing is going to be something where we’re going to need people into the future, so, I’ll take six months and upskill in an area that I want to focus in.’ And, then, when they come back to the workforce, they’ve got that specialty area, which will give them more income, and mean they can pursue an area that they really think that they’re going to have a passion for.

Susie Youssef: A lot of families are still waiting to find out what’s going on with the Year 12s. I can’t imagine how stressful that is for them right now. And, you’ve said they won’t be repeating the year. But, you are closer, like, are you any closer to working out what actually will happen?

Tehan: Yes. So, we had a really good meeting with education ministers last Monday, and we agree, all agree, that there would be no Year 13. There’ll be no mass repeating. And, so, now we’re working through, okay, well, what will an ATAR ranking look like? What will the examinations look like? What will the written examinations look like? And, all states and territories are committed to putting that in place. And, then, what we’re going to do is get a nationally consistent approach as to when that will be rolled out, and when people will get their ATAR mark for 2020. So, obviously, education is a difficult area because of the federation, and, each state and territory have jurisdictional responsibility. But, everyone is committed, as far as possible, to make sure we get a nationally consistent approach.

Wilkinson: Alright. Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan, thanks so much for your time.

Tehan: Pleasure.