Future of TAFE at critical mass

Annette Bennett
TAFE TA President

A national conference to be held in Surry Hills on 20 October will set the agenda for restoring TAFE to its former glory and remind us that it is the pre-eminent provider of vocational and second-chance education.

TAFE has a long and illustrious history as the provider of public vocational education, and we must not forget that the TAFE system we have now has not always been this way.

Thankfully, there are enough of us old teachers still around who remember how great TAFE used to be — and that is no criticism of the present TAFE teachers and support staff who are putting in every effort to defend and save our TAFE, as well as dealing with the appalling contestable funding milieu. The current neoliberal government has gutted much of the additional support that TAFE has traditionally provided and reduced it to a funding bucket, disgracefully named “Community Service Obligation”.

We remember when TAFE was more than just a vocational education provider. TAFE provided opportunities to develop the whole person and not just pander to the so-called “needs of industry” in delivering a narrow set of skills.

TAFE was funded properly, so that it could provide a supportive environment that afforded second-chance education, a stepping stone, a confidence boost, as well as a pathway to a vocation or to university.

Speakers at the conference, hosted by the Australian Education Union and the John Cain Foundation, will include:

  • Professor Leesa Wheelahan (University of Toronto)
  • Dr Jim Stanford (Centre for Future Work)
  • Professor John Buchanan (University of Sydney Business School)
  • Professor Valerie Braithwaite (Australian National University)
  • Professor Anne Jones (Victoria University)
  • John Pardy (Monash University).

The event will be held at the NSW Teachers Federation Conference Centre at Surry Hills on Friday, 20 October, from 10am to 5pm.

Tickets are $50 for AEU members and $200 for general admission.

Further details about this conference can be found here.

The Dapto TAFE shopfront is not delivering classes due to a lack of facilities

Click here to download PDF.