March 2019

Universities Australia (UA) welcomes the opportunity to make a submission in response to the discussion paper on the Review of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).

The AQF plays an important role in assuring students, employers and other stakeholders of the level, content and quality of qualifications at all levels of the Australian education and training system. This includes diplomas, certificates and degrees awarded by universities. It also provides valuable information and assurance in international study and employment markets.

The AQF is a useful guide to qualifications that sets out basic parameters for providers, students, employers and other stakeholders.

The AQF also plays an important part in higher education regulation. The Higher Education Threshold Standards include a requirement that the learning outcomes of all higher education qualifications must be consistent with the AQF level of the course. Due to the AQF’s regulatory role, it is particularly important to avoid changes which may unintentionally restrict or hamper universities’ responsiveness to changes in demand and changes in educational practice.

UA considers that the AQF is basically sound. We do not see a need for radical change to taxonomy (for example, changes to the number of levels or the addition of major new qualification types). We would not support major changes to the structure or contents of the framework.

This submission considers four of the five key areas canvassed in the discussion paper, namely:

  • Short courses
  • Descriptors
  • Social and enterprise skills
  • Volume of learning

UA welcomes the Review’s discussion of senior secondary school qualifications, but we do not have a particular view on the issues canvassed in the paper. UA is happy with the AQF’s current treatment of senior secondary certificates, though we would not oppose changes that might better recognise the diversity of purposes that these qualifications serve.

Find the full submission here (PDF 149.3KB)