TAFE Cuts Will Affect Everyone: State Governments Should Think Again

English: Teachers at the TAFE NSW campuses inc...
Teachers at the TAFE NSW campuses including the Riverina Institute in response to the NSW Government plans to increase full time teachers hours with a small pay increase, sacking 500 part time teachers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
by Associate Professor Leesa Wheelahan, Associate Professor, LH Martin Institute at University of Melbourne, The Conversation: http://theconversation.edu.au

TAFE staff are striking today to demonstrate their opposition to unparalleled funding cutbacks totalling almost $300 million imposed by the Victorian State Government.

A recent leaked cabinet paper summarising so called “TAFE transition plans” has incited outrage.

The plans show that campuses will close, TAFE institutes will merge, at least two thousand staff will be sacked, students will pay higher fees and TAFE institutes will cut provision or close down courses.

The Commonwealth government is now threatening to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars earmarked for vocational education and training.

However, the Victorian government is not alone. The New South Wales government is cutting $80 million and 800 teaching jobs from TAFE, while increasing student fees by 9.5%.

A Queensland government review of vocational education and training recommends closing 38 TAFE campuses and the Queensland government has cut $78.8 million from training, tertiary education and employment.

These state governments have failed to appreciate how important TAFE is to our economy and the community more generally. To them the vital work TAFE does is invisible.

But while TAFE’s effect might not be visible to politicians, it is an essential economic, social and cultural support for Australian communities and regions. Without strong TAFEs, there could be serious changes to our social cohesion and economic future.

The benefits of TAFE

TAFEs are often one of the biggest employers in regional or outer metropolitan areas and a focus for the community. All TAFE directors in Australia will be on their local regional economic development committee and work together with local government and industry leaders to identify economic problems and skill requirements.

All TAFEs have staff working with schools to support better outcomes for students, and they work with local communities to develop programs and support for disadvantaged students.

They provide pathways to higher education and to the professions, and in doing so, support Australia’s need for highly educated workforce and social mobility. They run courses that meet local economic or social needs even when it isn’t good business sense to do so.

To read further, go to: http://theconversation.edu.au/tafe-cuts-will-affect-everyone-state-governments-should-think-again-9687?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+21+September+2012&utm_content=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+21+September+2012+CID_a2ddc53ba21a589e6421534d4781482b&utm_source=campaign_monitor&utm_term=TAFE%20cuts%20will%20affect%20everyone%20state%20governments%20should%20think%20again
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