Released yesterday in conjunction with the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA), the Victorian Government’s Strengthening pathways in senior secondary qualifications report has proposed new study pathways that will be integrated into the VCE and VCAL qualifications under plans to restructure senior secondary education in Victoria.
The government has stressed that this is not an overhaul of the current certificates, but instead an initiative to better meet the changing needs of Victorian students. It is hoped that the new pathways will enable students to graduate with a broader education, including appropriate pathways for both academically and vocationally oriented students. It is expected that some of the programs may be available as early as 2014.
The new streams will include a Victorian Baccalaureate, Specialist Programs (SPs) and an Industry Pathways (IPs) program.
The Victorian Baccalaureate would be nested within the VCE and provide a pathway for students achieving at a high level across a broad range of studies — arts, humanities and business; English; languages; and mathematics, science and technology. As in the International Baccalaureate (IB), students would also be able to complete a research-based Extended Investigation unit, which is already being trialed in some schools in 2013. Eligible students, expected to be in the top three to five per cent of the state, would be awarded the Victorian Baccalaureate upon successful completion of the VCE.
These programs would recognise achievement in specialist studies, which would include business; mathematics and science; technologies; performing visual arts; humanities, including languages; and sport and human development. It is proposed that students would need to achieve at or above a certain level (determined by their study score in the relevant specialist subject) in order to be awarded a Specialist Program qualification. They would also be required to complete a set number of units within each eligible study. Students who met these requirements would be awarded the VCE with indication that they had successfully completed a Specialist Program.
The Industry Pathways option would be available in both the VCE and VCAL programs. It is proposed that IP options would be developed across a range of industry sectors, including building and construction, manufacturing and engineering, community services and health, and sports and recreation. Within the VCE, this program would allow students to select Vocational Education and Training (VET) studies in addition to their VCE units. Under the proposal, the VCE units would be contextualised to the relevant industry. Eligible students would be awarded the VCE or VCAL with indication that they had completed an Industry Pathway in their specific area. The introduction of the IPs would not affect provision of specially focused VCAL programs or School Based Apprenticeships and Traineeships.