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ERIC Number: EJ933334
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 20
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 41
ISSN: ISSN-1363-9080
From Old to New: The Australian Qualifications Framework
Wheelahan, Leesa
Journal of Education and Work, v24 n3-4 p323-342 2011
The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) is a "first generation" qualifications framework that was established in 1995. Its purpose was to create "a comprehensive, nationally consistent yet flexible framework for all qualifications in post-compulsory education and training." It encompasses all post-compulsory qualifications in Australia, which includes senior school certificates, vocational education and training (VET) qualifications and higher education qualifications. It is often portrayed as a good example of a relatively "weak" or "loose" qualifications framework because it does not have a direct role in accrediting qualifications or in quality assurance. This is changing. In November 2010, the Australian Ministerial Council for Tertiary Education and Employment (MCTEE), which comprises Australia's State, Territory and Commonwealth government ministers of post-school education and training, will vote on whether to endorse a new "strengthened" AQF. This article tries to capture an important time of transition in Australia as it moves from a relatively weak qualifications framework to a stronger one. It argues that there is a fundamental tension at the heart of the AQF that arises because VET qualifications are based on competency-based training models of curriculum while higher education qualifications and senior school certificates are based on input models of curriculum. This has limited its effectiveness in implementing one of its key objectives, which is to facilitate student transfers, pathways and credit transfer between education sectors. This article also argues that the AQF needs reform as part of wider changes to education policy, but that the proposed new AQF may create problems if the outcome is a unified "tight" qualifications framework in contrast to a unified "loose" framework that is supported by "policy breadth." The first section of this article provides a broad context for the development of national qualifications frameworks (NQFs) in Anglophone countries. The next discusses the contradiction at the heart of Australian tertiary education because the sectors are based on different curricular principles. The following section outlines the origins, development, nature and structure of the current AQF and it presents an outline of educational outcomes in which the AQF has played a role. It also discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the current AQF and explains why it is now being reviewed. The final section discusses the future of the AQF. (Contains 1 table and 9 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Adult Education; High Schools; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia