The sudden collapse of four for-profit vocational education enterprises including Aspire college is the latest in a string of scandals, failures and license revocations in the sector.
Meanwhile, in the US, the Apollo Education Group, owner of the “University” of Phoenix, has been taken private for $1 billion, a fraction of its peak market value. UoP pioneered the model of providing a bogus education to publicly funded students, ripping off both the students and the public purse. As the US has cleaned up the worst abuses, UoP and others have seen their profits shrink, to the point of bankruptcy in some cases.
The provision of public funds to for-profit operators has been a predictable, and predicted disaster. Of all the disasters perpetrated under the banner of microeconomic reform, education reform has probably been the worst.
In these circumstances, it would make sense for the national government, which has borne much of the cost, to take over the vocational education sector, properly fund the public TAFE system, and close down the for-profit sector, as was recently done in Chile.
The idea of a national takeover is, indeed, on the cards. But far from closing down the for-profit sector, it appears the Turnbull government plans to push the reform agenda even further.
Waist deep in the Big Muddy, and the big fool said, Carry On.