The Fourth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF4)
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Judi Walker

Collaboration and adaptation: a contextual model for efficient delivery of vocational degrees in small island states

Judi Walker
Faculty of Health Science, University of Tasmania

Jo Osborne
Faculty of Health Science, University of Tasmania

     Full text: HTML
     Last modified: March 23, 2006
     Presentation date: 11/01/2006 10:00 AM in NT Portland B
     (View Schedule)

Educational systems in island states commonly face a dilemma between the economic rationale of devolving professional education to larger (mainland) providers and the threat of further downscaling following consequent ‘brain-drain’ and loss of vital services that qualified professionals provide. None are more vital than those provided by the health care industry.

Ambulance paramedic training in Australia is available at preliminary (Certificate) level through technical education providers in all States. Maturation of the profession has seen University-based schools of paramedical studies established in all States except Tasmania, where the smaller population (hence lesser government expenditure on tertiary education) severely limits infrastructure development for allied health degrees. Further professional development has required a move inter-state; consequent expense and disruption to employment effectively resulting in capping paramedical education at pre-degree level.

To overcome this growing need an innovatory three-way agreement has been made between the University of Tasmania, Monash University (a mainland provider) and the Tasmanian Ambulance Service, for the adaptation of a successful existing program for delivery in the Tasmanian context, using local resources and expertise. It is suggested that a similar model might be a viable economic alternative for extending context-relevant higher education opportunities to other professions in smaller regional communities.

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