Monday, April 8, 2013

MORE WEASEL WORDS AT CIT ANNUAL REPORTS ESTIMATES





We comply we comply we comply
Statements by CIT acting Chief Executive Jenny Dodd at the 14 March CIT Annual Reports Estimates in the transcript of the 14 March Estimates session;
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are extremely misleading. She zeros in on the Certificate IV in workplace Training and Assessment even though Steve Doszpot does not ask about this qualification in particular – quite possibly he really does not know what has been/is going on at CIT. 

There are two separate issues here – the first is that anyone who wants to teach at CIT has to complete a Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment and will have mandatory industry skills and experience. In other words, the Cert IV is a way to quickly give people with no educational background or training, but with some kind of ‘industry knowledge’; the minimum qualification to teach in the Vocational Education Sector. CIT allows these people to teach before they are qualified and no one disputes (as far as I know) that this happens – people begin teaching at CIT while completing this qualification. 

Of more concern to me, other victims of CIT and current staff is the amount of staff put on higher duties without the mandatory higher educational qualifications such as The Advanced Diploma In Adult Education which is mandatory for any position past teacher level 1. 

It is current and past CIT practice to allow teachers with only a cert IV to ACT in an Education Manager (teacher level 2) position for up to 6 months (previously it was 3), and after this time they may not continue in or be awarded the position without the higher teaching qualification because of course, they will be supervising other teachers (many likely to be more highly qualified than themselves) and be in charge of making sure the curriculum is delivered according to government educational guidelines.

Many of those bullied by CIT have been casual teachers with exemplary teaching qualifications who have not only been over-looked due to jealousy by those less qualified but are also the victims of nepotism and corruption – ie, jobs for the mates and family, the chosen few, and interview stacking. While in acting positions, they not only failed to call themselves by their correct title (acting) but passed themselves off with the full title - they were also able to get rid of staff more qualified than them – the question is, should people acting at this level with only a Cert IV be making decisions about the employment of other teachers at all? And, are they even entitled to act in these positions? 

Of even more importance is that some complaints before the commissioner concern teachers with only a Cert IV appointed to permanent Education Manager positions. If this is true, then the questions asked by Mr Doszpot and Mrs Jones have unfortunately completely missed the point. 

So, to underline these issues;

1  Are teachers with only a Cert IV entitled to act as level two teachers under the Australian Skills Quality Authority rules?

Has CIT appointed any teachers in the past to permanent (or longer than 6 month acting) Education Manager positions?

Now, the devil is in the lack of detail here because the acting Chief Executive Jenny Dodd seems to be claiming that CIT only just became subject to strict teacher qualifications laws under the ASQA which is utter hogwash. But of course if she (and CIT) gets away with this smoke screen, then well – they get away with it and many of the complaints of the bullied disappear and of this I am quite sure she is well aware, as was her predecessor.

In fact, the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) has been in place since 2001, and certainly by 2002: http://www.det.act.gov.au/publications_and_policies/publications_a-z/annual_report/annual_report_2011/annex_reports

The qualifications requirements have been essentially identical the whole time ever since 2002.  The only significant change that has happened with the advent of ASQA is that VET (TAFE and private provider) regulation and accreditation is now done nationally by ASQA, whereas in the past it was done by State and Territory accreditation and registration agencies like ACTARC (the ACT Accreditation and Registration Agency). 

The ACTARC by the way was ridiculously embedded within the Department of Education and Training and staffed by a disproportionately high number of former CIT staff.  And CIT now seem to at last recognise that they DO have to actually follow the laws and regulations in relation to teacher qualifications, whereas for years they've made no real effort at all to comply with the laws and regulations – to a point where their registration and government funding really should have been stopped, but not before the stern warnings that never came.

The point is that the laws were always in place, but CIT and ACTARC turned blind eyes to massive levels of non-compliance.  There was huge administrative failure – and AQTF failure caused failure of ACT laws, specifically the ACT Public Sector Management Act and Standards.  Why?  Well because they demanded compliance with certified/collective/agreements and Commonwealth laws CIT was subject to: ACT laws demand compliance with Commonwealth laws and vice-versa, so in this sense these laws can be viewed as mutually reinforcing or interlocking Commonwealth and ACT laws and regulations.

Literally dozens of people over the better part of a decade including CIT administration, those higher in ‘The Department’ and some politicians simply didn't do their jobs properly at all.  Specifically, they didn't comply with or make any proper effort at all to ensure compliance with the interlocking Commonwealth and ACT laws on teaching qualifications as referred to earlier.  

Many teachers have raised these concerns for over 15 years (possibly longer) and because many of them were so ill treated by CIT because they complained about this very issue, they were shut up – got rid of. In 2010, the trickle of complaints became a flood, (and not just about his issue) such that the ACT Government was forced to act, and we had the first investigation and report by the Commissioner Mark McCabe. Now we await the outcome of the 57 complaints that the 10 investigators are currently examining under Commissioner Andrew Kefford. 

If CIT is seen to have acted wrongly in allowing capable casuals to be bullied and put out of work by under-qualified so called ‘colleges’, I wonder how CIT will remedy this? They will of course remedy nothing unless told to by the commissioner – so we wait and see.

If you wish to read on, follow Jenny Dodd’s convoluted trumpet blowing for CIT that flings a nice woolley rug over the real issues.

See especially as follows on pages P40 and P41, underlined to add emphasis to some key phrases here:

"MR DOSZPOT: With respect to page 139, staff qualifications, what is the current requirement for engagement of staff who may have various attributes for a position but do not have the necessary formal qualifications?

Ms Dodd: ... It is not just important now because CIT says it is important; it is important now because the Australian Skills Quality Authority requires it to be important. It is part of the national regulation standards.
All CIT staff who are teaching and assessing will have a certificate IV in teaching and assessing, and that has to be—and it is the important word here—current.
It is not okay any longer for that qualification to be quite dated. We have to have a program that keeps our teaching staff current. If they do not have that qualification then we are required to have a supervised assessment process in place for all assessment. That requirement is for every registered training organisation that is regulated through ASQA. ... I should point out that ASQA came into play in 2011. We were one of the first to be regulated through ASQA, so adhering to ASQA requirements has been top of mind for us for nearly two years, and we are really looking forward to how we keep pushing that forward with our own staff.
...
Page 51:
MRS JONES: Regarding governance issues under the Australian Skills Quality Authority, ASQA, what adjustments, if any, has CIT needed to make in order to qualify under this new VET regulation?

Ms Dodd: ... I am very proud of our ability to probably be one of the first vocational education and training providers in Australia to be regulated through ASQA and our ability to adapt to that changing environment, because it has been different than it was when we had ACT ARC. And we have adapted to that. ... So I think in terms of responsiveness to ASQA, it is not without its challenges. It certainly has got challenges in having an arms-length regulator as opposed to the environment we used to have in the ACT. But it is a challenge we are up for, and it is a challenge we have responded to effectively."


Evidence Ms Dodd? Examples? Responded to effectively? Oh? How? Since when, did you say? Are you sure you were only required to since 2011? Really?
I am so sick and tired of CIT's apparent belief that saying something enough times makes it so. 

UPDATE 19/4/13 
Well, if it doesn't rain it pours! I have been informed that I completely UNDERSTATED the situation that Steve Dozspot and others were trying to get CIT to admit to at the Estimates Hearing. Apparently there is and has been a HUGE number of CIT 'teachers' appointed to higher positions (and higher pay of course) without a SINGLE teaching qualification - including a cert IV! If true, not only is this against both national and local accreditation and registration agencies rules (ASQA and ACTARC), This practice is also illegal under the relevant enterprise agreements.


 As I always say ... all the qualifications and experience in the world can get you nowhere at CIT if you are not one of the 'chosen' while being completely unqualified can get you a top job and the right to bully and get rid of those better qualified than you!

I have a feeling that we will see a big list of current CIT 'teachers' suddenly becoming qualified over the last year. Then, they can all play Jenny Dodd's game and pretend it was ever so.





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