The Paradox: Home ed and VET funding

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The Paradox: Home ed and VET funding

When Victorian home ed teenagers transition to full-time TAFE, they de-register from home education and enrol under the same funding arrangements as any other student. Many of our students do this and 48 TAFE courses becoming free in 2019 will help facilitate such transitions.

However, if students wish to complete certificates as part of their home education, they face hefty fees. Meanwhile their school peers can gain the same qualifications for free. Depending on the course, the difference can be thousands of dollars – a large burden on families who already bear the full cost of education.

This is because the Skills First program provides:

  • Funding for students undertaking VET courses in school
    Home ed kids are NOT ELIGIBLE on the grounds they ARE NOT school kids.
  • Funding for students undertaking VET courses in a TAFE or RTO
    Home ed kids are NOT ELIGIBLE on the grounds they ARE school kids

The paradox arises from eligibility exclusions within the Skills First Program (below) designed to prevent “double-dipping” of funding.

Excerpt from the standard VET funding contract

 

For home ed students to access funded places in VET courses they must de-register with the VRQA. For home ed students who wanted to do this as part of their secondary studies, this presents further problems:

  • Legally, kids up to the age of 17, must be enrolled in a full-time course OR registered for home education. Many certificate courses are not full-time and therefore don’t meet the requirements alone.
  • If the student subsequently wishes to undertake VCE via Distance Education, they won’t meet the eligibility criteria (12 months’ home ed registration) because they de-registered to complete the certificate.

HEN contends this paradox limits opportunities to home ed students, especially low-income ones. It is also at odds with the Skills First ethos of encouraging kids to gain qualifications.

The Skills First funding is being reviewed and HEN wants to have the exclusion rules reconsidered.

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