Concerns raised at recently announced changes to ECEC Qualifications by ASQA
The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Sector.
On the 21st of July 2021 the new Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care (CHC30121) and the Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care (CHC50121) were released by ASQA after an extensive consultation process. These new courses are not equivalent to the current courses being offered and undertaken by students.
Training organisations, including all private and public institutions across the country now have just short of 12 months to update their resources to start delivering the new courses as no certificates/diplomas for the old courses can be issued after 19th July 2022.
From a practical point of view this means that in order for students to complete their course by mid-July next year no new enrolments can commence after August 2021.
How does this impact current students?
Students undertaking the Certificate III course who do not complete their course by the July 2022 deadline will be significantly disadvantaged as the transition to the new Certificate III qualifications requires an additional number of units that will add at least six months to their training.
Students undertaking the Diploma who do not finish by mid-July 2022 will be more significantly disadvantaged in course duration as the newly released Diploma requires a Certificate III as a prerequisite, rather than the direct entry at Diploma level which is currently the case.
In most states the vast majority of students undertaking these courses receive funding from both State and Commonwealth Governments. In Victoria this is Skills First or Free TAFE funding, both of which are a mixture of the Commonwealth user choice funding and Victorian state funding sources.
As the existing and new courses are not equivalent, the availability of funding is not automatic. Each institution will need to go through an audit process to add the qualifications to their scope of registration, and then a separate process to add them to their funded scope or preferred provider contracts. In general this process takes six months to complete.
An additional delay will be caused by waiting for the state government to add the new qualifications to the funded course list. This process can take up to nine months to be completed.
There is a significant impact on the training of new graduates into the sector. Without the granting by ASQA of an extension to the transition period (currently finishing 19th July 2022), new enrolments will cease around late August 2021, impacting the workforce pipeline with new students waiting for funded courses to come on-line.
Delays in granting funding to these new qualifications will therefore lead to a decrease in the qualified workforce coming on stream from mid to late 2022 through to the first quarter of 2023.
What can we do?
The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) is the body that can extend the transition period for the new qualifications. Lobbying federal members of parliament will assist in getting this extended for 18-24 months so the movement to the new course will be seamless with little impact on student enrolments and course completion.
To review the new courses, please see here.