A RESTRUCTURE of the Victorian Certificate of Education will give central Victorian students more flexibility with subject selection, a Bendigo principal says.
Education Minister James Merlino on Tuesday confirmed the Victorian Applied Certificate of Learning would be phased out from 2023. A new vocational specialist pathway would instead be introduced in the VCE.
VCAL would then be completely scrapped in 2025, with the vocational subjects fully integrated into the senior secondary certificate.
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Mr Merlino said the reform would provide flexibility for students to undertake both academic and applied learning subjects in their final years of school.
Bendigo Senior Secondary College principal Dale Pearce said he had mixed feelings about the changes.
"I think VCAL has been a terrific success and has worked really well for many students, but I can also see the need for change," Mr Pearce said.
"It will allow students in a vocational pathway to take more academic subjects. It will also allow students with a more vocational focus to do those academic subjects.
"Having all of the students on the one certificate will allow for greater flexibility with subject selection."
The reforms followed a review into vocational and applied learning pathways for senior secondary students, led by former Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority chief executive John Firth.
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Mr Merlino said Mr Firth consulted with schools, students, parents, and other groups for the review.
The education minister said the findings showed some students were avoiding VCAL due to the perception the vocational program was not as high achieving as VCE.
Mr Pearce said there were some misconceptions about VCAL that were holding students back.
"It was clear through the process and through our own experience and interaction with other schools that the perception of VCAL was really mixed among students, parents, staff, and certainly some employers," he said. "That is a key reason for the change."
But Mr Pearce said there were still a number of details that needed to be clarified.
"We haven't seen the curriculum response yet," he said. "I'm interested to see what happens to the curriculum component that is specifically tied to VCAL - areas like personal development.
"Those are embedded in the VCAL curriculum and I'm not sure whether they will remain as a standalone subject or a modified new curriculum.
"There are a range of questions there. I think it will take some time to develop."
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