Participation and access in TAFE: social service or economic utility?

Year: 1996

Author: Powles, Margaret, Anderson, Damon

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper provides an analysis of participation and access issues which where identified by the Kangan Report of 1974 and which remain significant in Australian Technical and Further Education in the 1990s. A conjectural and deliberately dichotomous 'social service'/'economic utility' framework is superimposed upon some of 'TAFE's features in order to explore changes in the system and the attendant assumptions about participation and access. Sectoral growth, attendance patterns, and socio-economic shifts in the TAFE population are examined within the framework, providing a basis far an exploration of specific, but inter-related issues: women's participation, access courses, the emergence of selective admissions, academic drift, and costs to the student. In each case it is shown how the notions of participation and access may be interpreted and what might be the future consequences of policies which tip the balance between social service and economic utility in either direction.