Government begins 2022 with suite of new and updated education and employment policies
The Federal Government has announced a suite of new and updated education and employment policies to begin the new year, including the official commencement of the Preschool Reform Agreement, which took effect 1 January 2022.
Stuart Robert MP, Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business and Acting Minister for Education and Youth made the announcement, saying the new year changes mean more Australians can “make the most of education and employment opportunities”.
Approximately 1.2 million Australian children will benefit through access to at least 15 hours of preschool each week in the year before they start school, across the life of the Preschool Reform Agreement, the Minister said, with the intention of ensuring that all Australian children have access to high-quality preschool options and are better prepared for their first year of school.
Important changes to those studying ECEC using HELP payments
New changes relating to those who are pursuing higher education paid for under the Higher Education Loan Program also came into effect on 1 January 2022, which will impact those studying early childhood education and care (ECEC) as well as other qualifications.
From 1 January 2022, students accessing Commonwealth assistance must make adequate progress in their course of study to protect them and taxpayers from the accumulation of excessive HELP debts. The change is part of the Job-ready Graduates reforms, and is a student protection and provider integrity measure.
Help for older Australians
An additional $49 million has also been allocated in the announcement to support older Australians so they can update their skills and stay in the workforce. The funding will be used to double the number of places in the Skills Checkpoint for Older Workers Program, which provides career advice and support for those wanting to transition to new roles, as well as expanding the eligibility criteria.
The Skills and Training Incentives will also be doubled, to provide up to $2,200 to jointly fund training to help participants upskill or re-skill to remain in the workforce for longer, and help remove barriers and disincentives for older Australians who want to continue to work.
Regulatory fee relief
The Government will invest $27.8 million in regulatory fee relief for the duration of 2022, including certain fees for Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) registrations, and the Tuition Protection Service (TPS) Levy.
For a complete list of the changes, please see the Minister’s announcement.
Child Australia to pilot 9-day fortnights for educators as workforce shortage continues to bite
by Jason Roberts
Assessment & Rating: Hurdle or opportunity?
by Freya Lucas
Age is just one factor in school readiness, Macquarie University expert explains
by Freya Lucas