By Marvi Islam
A new pathway to graduate from high school in WA will be up and running by next year.
The General Pathway Program will give students three options to complete their WACE (WA Certificate of Education).
The program is being designed for students who don’t fit into the VET (Vocational Education and Training) or ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admissions Ranking) graduation pathways.
The Department of Education says VET has had many problems in regional areas due to an increased number of students joining the program.
VET training in Western Australia is focused on the development of skills and knowledge that are, based on business and industry needs.
More than 60% of secondary school students are now choosing to undertake VET courses, as compared to an average of 30% over the past 10 years.
Setting up VET programs in regional schools is challenging as securing work for students in small communities is difficult.
“There are many schools that do not even offer grades after 10th grade in regional areas, this means that students either stop studying or go to the city to join VET programs,” said Murdoch University teaching lecturer, Hellen Dempsey.
School services must meet current industry standards before a registered training organisation (RTO) will agree to offer the course. There is typically a high cost to run the course as they will require specialised equipment.
RTO’s provide most of the VET courses and in the event that one collapses or is deregistered students face the risk of not completing the course.
“This third pathway gives students more options,” said Education and Training minister, Sue Ellery.
“For some students, five year 12 General courses, or a combination of General and ATAR courses will be a more appropriate preparation for their post-school pathway.”
The new general pathway program will have a variety of 50 courses to choose from. Students would need to take five of those subjects to graduate. These courses won’t need funding as schools are already providing many of them.