Why we are concerned about the future of TAFE?

All education sectors are undergoing considerable change, but none more so than the vocational education and training sector.  Governments, both Liberal and Labor, have been changing the focus of VET and TAFE over the last decade, and the visions of the 1974 Kangan report that had VET providing second chance and further education, have been diminished.  VET has been subjected to marketisation and privatisation, and education for individuals has become almost a secondary consideration.  Federal Government funding for VET has been made available on the basis that states open up their training markets and make both federal and state funding contestable.  Student fees have been greatly increased, and governments are moving away from their responsibility to provide a public TAFE system, accessible to all and meeting the educational and vocational needs of individuals, industry and community.  The latest Federal budget of 2014 further entrenches the notions of ‘user pays’ and private ownership of education.
In NSW, the government plans to introduce reforms in 2015 entitled ‘Smart and Skilled NSW’.  The funding of VET will incorporate contestability and student entitlements. TAFE NSW Institutes will be expected to compete with approved private and community training providers for entitlement funding. 
Funding to TAFE will fall (as has happened in other states).  Already the current state government has cut some $800m from TAFE NSW. As a consequence TAFE NSW has started to cut courses that are not considered  most competitive or that are not on the state’s skills shortage list.  These include many cultural courses such as arts, and second chance courses such as the HSC and languages. 
The TAFE Community Alliance is aware that many members of the public do not know about these changes and are not aware of the impact on the accessibility of quality vocational education and training courses in the future.  The Alliance also feels that many will agree that such changes are not in the best interests of the people of NSW.
In the continuing context of campaigning to maintain a quality, well-funded TAFE system in NSW, the Alliance also believes that now is the time to re-examine what TAFE NSW really stands for and to consider how it can evolve to maintain its important role in NSW.

No comments :

Post a Comment