Privatisation of gaol learning opens huge risk

Robert Long
TAFE Organiser

Correctiions educaton officers meet in Sydney

Federation condemns the Baird government’s decision to open education services in NSW gaols to private providers, rejecting highly-experienced and qualified full-time teachers to make way for clerks and inexperienced contract staff.

The NSW government is taking a huge risk in putting education in gaols out to tender. Private training providers, like those who have so significantly rorted the vocational education system, cannot be trusted with the education of vulnerable inmates.

Federation will continue to lobby the Minister for Correctional Services David Elliott and other MPs to reverse this decision and reinstate high-quality education staffed by qualified full-time teachers.

Mr Elliott’s decision is a threat to all teachers working in the 31 NSW gaols providing educational services. More than 150 Senior Correctional Education Officers, Correctional Education Officers and teachers employed by Corrective Services NSW are threatened with redundancy, with their jobs proposed to be replaced by administrative clerks.

In a disgraceful decision, Minister Elliott will cut the current five designated Aboriginal teachers. Aboriginal and Torres Strait people are over-represented in the prison system: although only 3 per cent of the national population, Aboriginal people make up more than 28 per cent of the gaol population. CSNSW management cannot give a clear outline of its plan for educational services for Aboriginal inmates.

The decisions include:

  • 23 senior correctional education officer positions abolished
  • 39.8 correctional education officers positions reduced to four
  • 98 permanent and 11 temporary teaching positions reduced to 16 teaching positions
  • The existing 152.5 full time equivalent inmate education and vocational training roles will be reduced to 20 positions.

Senior correctional education officers, correctional education officers and teachers help to reduce recidivism, contribute to research and break the cycle of poverty and crime.

Yet the minister plans to replace teachers and educational staff with 24 clerks described as Education Services Co-ordinators and 43 clerks as Assessment and Planning officers.

The only educational positions retained will be at the four Intensive Learning Centres located at Wellington, Lithgow, Nowra and Kempsey.

Members have expressed anger that CSNSW head office management positions, meanwhile, have been increased from eight to 10.

All members are encouraged to support the Federation’s “Education beats crime every day” campaign.

Send a letter to the Minister here.

Read more:

All teachers should care about learning privatisation

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