How many regions? A study of the regional structure of vocational education in Queensland
Phillip N. Clarke
(This paper was submitted to fulfil the partial requirements of a Master of Regional Science Degree from the University of Queensland.)
This study was undertaken to investigate the usefulness of student enrolment data in the process of region building, by looking for 'natural' groups within the data to form regions. The Queensland Department of Employment, Vocational Education, Training and Industrial Relations (DEVETIR) regionalisation is part of the State Government's policy on the regionalisation of government services in Queensland. The government believed that efficiencies in the provision of services could be achieved by regionalising departmental activities, and by moving decision making relevant to services closer to consumers. Therefore, there was a need to determine a suitable set of regions to achieve the State Government's aims. Rather than adopt an ad hoc approach to determining these regions, an approach based on existing service provision seemed more appropriate, at least as a starting point for the determination of a suitable set. A measure of this service provision was the existing student enrolment data for 1990 in the form of interactions between origin (home) postcode areas and destination (college) postcode areas.
The aim of this study was to identify any natural regional structure in the 1990 data used to describe the vocational education system in Queensland. The only significant region to be identified was the metropolitan region centred on the major Brisbane TAFE colleges. The balance of the State was made up of individual college districts clustered tightly about the respective college and no significant regional joining of these districts. Even though the TAFE regional structure does not contradict the analysis, the five regions adopted are not supported strongly. This is even the case in the metropolitan region where there is evidence in the data that northern and southern metropolitan regions are distinct.
Overall, it was concluded that the weakness of the explanation of variance available through the analysis does not allow sufficient confidence to support any regional structure based on enrolment data, but neither can the analysis be unequivocal in denying that the TAFE regional structure is appropriate to its administrative needs.
Additional research is required in the areas of suitable data sets to either reinforce student enrolment data or to disprove it as a suitable regional building data set. These additional data sets and the trial of alternative techniques could lead to a more definitive solution to the issue of vocational education regions.
|Please cite as: QIER (1992). Thesis abstract - Phillip Clarke. Queensland Researcher, 8(1), 40-41. http://www.iier.org.au/qjer/qr8/clarke.html|