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Dr Christine Spratt on public funding of Higher Education in TAFE

22 Mar 2013

Dr Christine Spratt, deputy director of programs for higher education at Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE argues the case for public funding of higher education in TAFE in the Sydney Morning article - How TAFEs are changing by degrees.

The distinctions between educational providers are becoming increasingly blurred. Publicly funded Universities have been criticised from business groups for many years for the lack of preparedness in work-ready skills of many university graduates. Subsequently, Universities have been attempting to integrate more industry based learning experiences in their degree programs to ameliorate this issue.

On the other hand, TAFE has been able to leverage it's strong emphasis and experience in competency and skills-based vocational training combined with close partnerships with business to develop a diverse range of practical innovative higher education degree and graduate diploma programs that meet the needs of industry. Higher Education graduates from TAFE enter the workforce with practical industry-based skills and training as well as traditional academic skills in research and thinking critically.

NMIT has been at the forefront of offering innovative and practical Bachelor degree programs being the first Victorian TAFE to offer an undergraduate degree: The Bachelor of Aquaculture course with the first students enrolling at the start of 2005. Subsequent Bachelor degree programs included: Viticulture and Winemaking (2006), Equine Studies (2006), Music (2007), Hospitality Management (2008), Illustration (2008), Writing and Publishing (2008), Agriculture and Land Management (2010), and Accounting (2011).

NMIT was the first TAFE to offer a fully accedited teacher training program with the 4 year degree course Bachelor of Early Years (Education) in 2011. In 2012 three new Bachelor Degrees are being launched at NMIT in Business, Information Technology, and Music Industry.

Christine Spratt points out in the Sydney Morning Herald article "Higher education in TAFE makes sense. What would make better sense is if governments funded it appropriately and critics joined our existing university partners and colleagues in treating us with respect rather than disdain".

Read more at the Sydney Morning Herald: How TAFEs are changing by degrees.
More information on Higher Education at NMIT


Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener, on (03) 92691579, 0413 483 182 or

NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) - Situated on six campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne's north plus a regional campus at Ararat, NMIT delivers vocational training, higher education and lifelong learning capabilities for a global workforce. NMIT forges partnerships with community, industry and government to produce practical, solution orientated graduates capable of making meaningful contributions to their chosen field of endeavour.

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