The NSW Liberal government has a series of cuts planned for the TAFE sector as part of the so-called ‘Smart and Skilled’ reforms. Their plan is to cut government spending and give a greater role to private training colleges.
TAFE teachers have said that more than 1,500 jobs are in jeopardy – 50% more than first thought. TAFE Outreach, which helps disadvantaged students, is also under attack with up to half the staff at some campuses going.
TAFE Teacher’s Association president Phil Chadwick said “We’re seeing pressure being placed on teachers to increase class sizes, to reduce the number of locations where courses are being delivered and to reduce the delivery time of those courses… We’re also seeing a dramatic increase in the cost of students’ fees.”
Government TAFE campuses are being forced to maintain expensive public buildings while their private competitors can operate out of shopfronts. For many courses, private colleges get taxpayer funds of thousands of dollars. This money is paid upfront regardless of whether or not the student actually attends or graduates.
For-profit education only leads to private colleges prioritising profits rather than providing decent training. This rort needs to end and the state sector needs to fully funded.
By Gary Duffy