Gaol education concern

Rob Long
TAFE Organiser

Inmates should gain rehabilitation skills, say members

Gaol education is increasingly being geared to satisfying the needs of gaol industries rather than focusing on rehabilitation and improving the chances of employment after release, members in Corrective Services have told Federation.

Members of the Corrective Services Teachers Association (CSTA) met on 25 May to discuss the problems inmates and teachers are facing with the new model of education in NSW correctional centres.

Last year, Corrective Services abolished many teaching jobs, outsourcing teaching work to private providers, with duties to be carried out by clerks filling newly-created roles. Federation has been insistent that teaching be carried out by qualified teachers and that people recruited to the new positions — on lower salaries than teachers — not teach.

The Department of Corrective Services has given assurance that it will not require people in the newly-created roles of Education Services Coordinator (ESC) and Assessment and Planning Officers (APO) to perform any of the duties that the Federation believes require a teaching qualification.

Those duties include face-to-face teaching; developing course, curriculum or learning materials; tutoring inmates undertaking distance education or experiencing learning difficulties; applying judgement rather than administering a computer program to assess inmates’ literacy and numeracy skills; validating assessment tasks and supervising the professional work of qualified teachers.

Federation and the Public Sector Association (PSA) have signed a joint communication distributed to all CSTA members regarding agreement that Federation members who have been successful in securing the new ESC and APO roles are able to continue their membership with Federation.

CSTA members will continue to campaign to maintain quality educational services in all NSW gaols.

The campaign against the outsourcing of educational services has been difficult and many teachers have been displaced. Federation intends to continue the campaign until the next state election in 2019.