Students should think twice before jetting off to uni and “racking up a massive HECS debt”, says the owner of an online training college.
According to Murray Macdonald, owner Macdonald Education, excessive importance is placed on students achieving university degrees which is an “expensive” and “restrictive” approach to furthering studies post-HSC.
“I believe this is the wrong approach. By doing this, a lot of schools and parents are sending their students into a world of debt. Some students rack up HECS debts of $100k which they are then saddled with for many years. This is no way to start life as a young adult. It also restricts a person’s decision making and career choices,” Mr Macdonald said.
“Of course universities want school leavers because they want the revenue.”
Mr Edwards said more school leavers consider vocational and skills based courses.
“Courses in real estate and other industry courses offer the ability to enter expanding industries which provide a broad range of jobs and career building experience
“More schools and parents should be encouraging kids to gain workplace experience so they are better prepared when making decisions around education.”
Principal at St Pauls College Kempsey, Kevin Lewis says that while university is the right path for some, it’s important that the education system provides students with a range of pathways to pursue their ideal career choices including entry points into vocational education (construction, hospitality etc) as well as the early entry system that many universities offer which takes pressure away from receiving a top ATAR.
“Many have used the early entry system to enter uni prior to the ATARs coming out. Students also know that ATARs don’t define them and we have a big emphasis on holistic learning which ultimately creates more well-rounded young men and women,” Mr Lewis said.
“We have structured our curriculum at St Pauls such that only those who want to achieve an ATAR are enrolled for it, while others maintain a non-ATAR pathway based on a vocational curriculum including construction, primary industries and hospitality. These are crucial trades in our region which closely mirror the needs of the community. Our students enter the workforce with many skills that are immediately useful and are in high demand from employers.”
Mr Lewis said schools are evolving their curriculums to support an increasingly in-demand mix of academic, vocation and community skills that suit the new generation of students and their futures.