Monash Commission report: Rethinking post-compulsory education in Australia

  • Published Date: 10 May 2019

The report of the first Monash Commission has been published on ‘Rethinking post-compulsory education in Australia’ and recommends a new statutory agency for post-compulsory education and training, and lifetime learning accounts.

The Commission was founded by Professor Margaret Gardner AO — President and Vice-chancellor of Monash University, and member of ANZSOG’s Board — to conduct a series of independent, in-depth inquiries into public policy matters Monash University believes to be critical to Australia’s future.

The report includes contributions from ANZSOG’s Professor Michael Mintromand Leeds University’s Dr Andrew Gunn, who both worked with the Commission throughout its duration. 

The Commission, chaired by Elizabeth Proust AO, considered possible models for the future of the Australian post-compulsory education sector. It hosted seminars — bringing together policy experts and leaders from education, government and business — and commissioned expert papers to compare systems, examine issues and identify potential models.

The inquiry considered future types of work and the role of skills and expertise, research and development, governance and regulation, as well as public and private funding sources.

The final report was launched on 8 May following a year of activity and makes three recommendations for government:

  • Establish a statutory agency for post-compulsory education and training
  • Introduce a universal learning entitlement and a lifetime learning account
  • Design a coherent, sustainable model of financing public providers.

Professor Mintrom and Dr Gunn prepared a paper which considered Australia’s post-compulsory education system as an ‘ecosystem’ and explored the attributes of a range of governance models while benchmarking international examples. 

They also produced a paper proposing the creation of an Australian Post Compulsory Education Innovation Council as a potential governance model. They suggested such a Council could be modelled on the highly influential Australian Productivity Commission, and similar entities that operate to promote evidence-informed policy development.

The final report highlights Professor Mintrom and Dr Gunn’s contribution to the Commission:

“Work undertaken for the Commission by Michael Mintrom and Andrew Gunn suggests it is time for a new post-compulsory education governance system, several examples of which currently exist in other countries. The type of governing body - an overarching body or one that coordinates across separate governance structures – and its exact powers need to be defined through public consultation and debate. As a starting point, Mintrom and Gunn suggest such a body should: operate at arm’s length from government ministers; monitor key developments in the sector; and promote long term strategic thinking for all post-compulsory education.”

The full report can be read at https://commission.monash.edu