TAFE SA is only now being recognised by the Education Minister and the Marshall Government for providing quality vocational education and training following an announcement about recent enrolment increases.
Australian Education Union Branch Secretary Leah York is concerned that Minister Gardner’s display of support for TAFE SA is merely lip service.
“We are glad the government has finally acknowledged that TAFE is the quality provider for vocational education and training in SA. We believe that the high level of quality has come at the cost of the goodwill of our members. It is not something the government can lay claim to securing,” said Ms York.
“Minister Gardner says he supports TAFE SA to be an effective, sustainable public provider that offers choice and high quality training. Meanwhile the Marshall Government actively pursues their privatisation agenda by opening up TAFE campuses to private providers, supporting a contestable market and pushing for a fee-for-service model to fill the Government coffers at students’ expense.”
Whilst the government ‘celebrates’ the increase in TAFE enrolments, cuts continue to other high demand courses such as Community Studies and Children’s Services, particularly with courses offered in regional areas.
TAFE SA is currently undergoing a series of Business Unit Reviews behind closed doors, with staff being warned against discussing any details.
The AEU has attended these Business Unit Reviews where the delivery of lessons by Skype is being mooted as one option.
“TAFE courses are often comprised of highly practical, hands on training. We have concerns about how competency could be monitored and assessed via Skype. There will be major issues with internet speeds and access across many areas of the state. This will have an immediate impact on the quality of the course delivery, not to mention access and equity issues,”