Secure Future for Public Provision of Vocational Education and Training

The NSW Greens launched their TAFE Changes Moratorium (Secure Future for Public Provision of Vocational Education and Training) Bill on 12 November at Parliament House.  The TAFE Community Alliance addressed the quite large group, along with John Kaye Greens MP, Maurie Mulheron from the Teachers Federation and Anne Gardiner from the PSA.  
The Bill sets out to maintain TAFE as the principal provider of VET, to restore funding per student hour to a minimum of 2010/11 levels, and to freeze TAFE fees also at 2010/11 levels.  
We are all urged to visit our local MPs and to urge their support for the Bill.
Linda Simons presentation for TCA


Save TAFE Greens Bill (Launch Nov 12)

The Greens Bill aims to:

  •  restore TAFE funding by reversing massive budget cuts, 
  • stop rising fees and job losses, and 
  •  freeze the O'Farrell government's aggressive Smart and Skilled market that would create a race to the bottom with low cost, low quality private providers. 
State and federal Labor and Coalition governments have driven TAFE to the brink of collapse, despite the massive economic and social benefits of publicly provided vocational education and training. It’s time to take a stand for TAFE and for a fairer society, a healthier economy, a vibrant community and a skilled workforce. Read more about this important Bill

Education: Another Brick in the Wall.

As part of its Vulture Capitalism month, the Addison Road Community Centre in Marrickville conducted an education panel. It was titled 'Another Brick in the Wall, and discussed the impact of Neo-Liberal market philosophies on education today.  The panel represented the three education sectors, TAFE, schools and universities.  The speakers were: TAFE Community Alliance - Linda Simon, Schools: Activist Teachers Network - Andrew Viller, Higher Education - NTEU - Nick Reimer.  The impact was felt differently in each sector, but there were also many similarities. In schools, the corporatisation is apparent, with schools taking on corporate identities, such as Optus funding professional development.  The use of testing, such as Naplan, to rank students and schools was also highlighted resulting from a market driven model of education.  The case study of the industrial action at Sydney University was used to highlight what is happening in Higher Education, with moves to drive down working conditions, undermine academic autonomy and put not just universities but academics in the position of competing against each other. Linda's speech to the forum is included on the website, where she highlighted the marketisation and privatisation of the VET sector, with current government proposals under Smart and Skilled NSW, undermining TAFE's role in quality VET.  Cuts to funding will continue to undermine TAFE's ability to maintain standards and students will be seduced into undertaking qualifications through providers that may not give them the knowledge and skills they need. The Addison Rd Community Centre plans to run another education forum.  Keep a look out, as the discussion was great.

From Master's to PhD, via TAFE

  • From:
  • The Australian 
    Shingi Chando a Zimbabwean born nursing student, plans to leap straight from a diploma to a PhD. She won the top student award at Sydney TAFE. She says her teachers at Sydney Institute, Australia’s oldest and largest TAFE, are highly regarded in the nursing industry. “I found this encouraging when I started my practical training at Westmead Hospital,” she says. 
    Shingi Chando demonstrates one of the many and varied roles of TAFE. She is the first international student to win the award. She came to Australia last year after a six-year stint as a nursing researcher in Dallas Texas, during which she obtained a master’s degree in public health. Read more

    Jude Pearce Tells of Her Way Forward With TAFE

    The Rod Brooks Memorial Education Forum at Katoomba Politics in the Pub with the Blue Mountains Union Council heard Jude's story in her own words.

    Illawarra Forum May 21

    Speakers at the TAFE Community Alliance Illawarra Region Forum on May 21 discussed how the state government’s funding cuts and new funding model will affect TAFE provision in NSW, what our communities stand to lose and how we can maintain TAFE as the major public Vocational Education and Training (VET) provider. Speakers included Arthur Rorris Secretary South Coast Labour Council, Sharon Bird Minister for Higher Education and Skills
    Member for Cunningham, Gordon Bradbery Lord Mayor of Wollongong, Jozefa Sobski
    Former TAFE Institute Director and Maxine Sharkey NSWTF.

    Mon April 29 Auburn Forum

    Students and community members speak out about how important TAFE is to themselves and their communities at TCA Forum in Auburn. Read what Jozefa's had to say pdf

    Gonski cuts 'exacerbate uncertainty' over course costs, availability - John Ross April 26, 2013 12:00AM

    Former TAFE institute director Josefa Sobski said fee hikes and funding cuts flagged this week would add to the instability created by rolling reforms and $80 million cutbacks announced last year. The NSW government is still working through the detail of the 2012 reforms, which will remove funding for courses deemed ‘non-vocational’. And it has provided no detail about the latest cuts, which will help fund its share of the Gonski schooling reforms." Read more

    IPART issues paper

    IPART has released an issues paper for our review of price and fee arrangements for government-funded vocational education and training under Smart and Skilled. This issues paper is the first step in our process for conducting this review.

    AEU Welcomes Federal TAFE Inquiry Announcement

    AEU President Angelo Gavrielatos has welcomed the announcement of a parliamentary Inquiry into TAFE. This is a much needed intervention by the federal parliament - TAFEs across Australia have suffered savage cuts over the past twelve months, right at the time when governments at all levels should be doing all they can to support Australians getting the qualifications they need, Mr Gavrielatos said today. 
    Over the past year, close to 3000 much-needed teaching jobs, and hundreds of courses in Victoria, NSW and Queensland TAFEs have been cut. TAFE qualifications underpin the Australian workforce - there are over 1.2 million students in TAFEs across the country, many in regional areas. We underestimate the importance of TAFE at our more

    Carmel Tebutt's Address for the launch of the TAFE Community Alliance

    'People in NSW are rightly proud of TAFE – it plays a key role in tackling skills shortages, training the plumbers, electricians, hairdressers and chefs of the future.
    It provides educational opportunities for those who have disengaged from education for whatever reason and gives people mid career or re entering the workforce the chance to upgrade their skills.'
    Read more Read more online

    UnitingCare Report on Launch of the TAFE Community Alliance

    "UnitingCare Burnside has a long history of working with TAFE Outreach to support vulnerable people and communities re-engage with education and employment. Our work demonstrates the integral role second-chance education plays in creating positive outcomes for those people experiencing hardship and disadvantage." More...

    Jozefa Sobski's Address for the Launch of the TAFE Community Alliance

    'Throughout its long history, TAFE in NSW and nationally has been an essential contributor to the economy and society; responsive in times of crisis: like wars and disasters, through economic upheaval, industry restructuring, technological and social change. It is a public institution ready to perform its public duty. It belongs to all of us. Its losses are ours. Its success is also our success' Read more Read more online

    Mary Waterford's Address for the Launch of the TAFE Commununity Alliance

    'We have a population of over 2 million residents in Greater Western Sydney, with many dealing with difficult social problems of poverty, social exclusion, housing stress / homelessness and unemployment. We also have great assets in our people and the TAFE & the community sector are both  skilled at developing innovative projects that build on individuals and community strengths to enable people to lead fuller, more engaged lives.' Read more Read more online

    Technical and Further Education: Communal Importance

    Respected academic and researcher Tony Vinson recognises the importance of TAFE to regional communities, why can't the government? In a paper on Mildura suffering the effects of cuts to TAFE funding in Victoria, Tony Vinson calls for a restoration of funding to TAFE to the pre-May 12 level, and cites the impact on communities when such funding has been cut. He makes two important comments (amongst others):
    "Concerning governments' stated desire of increasing social inclusion, learning is an extremely effective way of engaging with adults who have been isolated from both the labour market and other aspects of wider society..." and "How can declared social values like a 'fair go' be reconciled with the fact that government funding for TAFE has been declining over the past fifteen years?"
    Read more

    TAFE - imperative to Australian education and infrastructure

    Dr Jocelynne Scutt, Barrister and Human Rights Lawyer in Melbourne and Sydney reviews the current attack on TAFE and the impact such as the following:
    'University fees shut out working-class youth and potential mature age students or has them graduating with a high debt-burden. In turn, the policy results in an emphasis upon degrees in fields that most readily accommodate repayment of the debt.'

    Read more

    The colour of money is ruining art

    The SMH ran this opinion piece (27.12.12) on TAFE. Amongst other comments on the cuts and reforms to TAFE, Elizabeth Farrelly makes the comment:
    In 2014, NSW will follow Victoria and Queensland into the so-called "voucher" system favoured by neo-liberal idealogues.  Under the suitably Orwellian- sounding label "Smart and Skilled", it will license providers to compete with TAFE, with results, no doubt, every bit as reassuring as the deregulation of building certification.
    Read more
    TAFECommunityAlliance encourages you to write to the Herald and continue to highlight the impact of these changes on TAFE, students and the community generally.  You can:

    The neglected sector: the year that changed TAFE in Australia

    An interesting article on TAFE based on the Chris Stone research:
    This year, the majority of TAFEs across the country have been threatened by state government changes to the sector. In New South Wales and Victoria, vocational education has seen institutional closures, loss of expertise and reduced opportunities for students.

    From Unease to Alarm - escalating concerns about the model of 'VET reform' and cutbacks to TAFE

    A series of articles and interviews written by VET researcher John Mitchell for Campus Review.  They trace the changes occurring during 2011 and 2012, and the 'escalating concerns' of those involved in the VET sector, including politicians, academics and providers.

    Valuing Skills: Why vocational training matters

    Valuing Skills: Why vocational training matters, by CPD Public Service Research Director Christopher Stone, demonstrates the worth of maintaining a healthy vocational education and training sector, and the particular value of TAFE within the sector.