Tell your TAFE story, for the system's sake

Maxine Sharkey
Assistant General Secretary (Post School Education)

Student, teacher and parent submissions wanted

If you’ve had a positive experience with TAFE, please share it with the NSW Upper House inquiry into vocational education and training.

The inquiry needs to hear these accounts to fully understand the value of TAFE and to ensure TAFE maintains the resources and qualified teachers necessary to make these affirming stories happen.

The deadline for submissions is August 14. Submissions can be made via the Stop TAFE Cuts site.

You might like to outline your positive experiences of TAFE, as a student, teacher or parent of a student. You may have someone in your family whose life has been transformed by TAFE.

Submissions can also address the effect of the State Government’s Smart and Skilled policy. You may have watched your local TAFE college lose courses or students and can highlight the effect this has had on your community or you might know someone who has been priced out of further study because of Smart and Skilled fee increases.

TAFE is about getting people in to jobs and helping them to continue learning while in employment, move between jobs or progress on a chosen career path. The TAFE system also offers second chance learning, second career opportunities and provides surety that our communities can have a steady supply of well-trained tradespeople and para-professionals.

TAFE has long been the mainstay of NSW’s vocational education and training system, but TAFE might not be able to continue this vital role if the NSW Government’s Smart and Skilled privatisation agenda is allowed to continue unfettered.

The NSW Coalition Government has undermined TAFE in every way since gaining government. It has “reformed” and “reviewed” TAFE to within an inch of its life, with the loss of more than 2600 teachers and support staff and more than 80,000 students during 2012–2015. Budgets have been cut, courses have been cut and there have been huge student fees increases.

The numbers of students with a disability, Aboriginal students and students requiring additional language, literacy and numeracy support enrolled in TAFE courses have dropped because of reduced eligibility for fee exemptions and cuts to student support positions, which assisted these students to access TAFE courses.

Just one day before National TAFE Day, TAFE funding was cut by $122 million in the NSW Budget (see: "State Budget that failed public education").

It is abundantly clear that this government’s agenda is to degrade TAFE so that for-profit providers can access more and more vocational education funding. Mike Baird’s Government can no longer hide behind weasel words such as “flexibility”, “entitlement”, “contestability” or “smart and skilled”.

All TAFE activists and supporters are asked to speak up for TAFE and challenge this ideological dismantling of public education.

Making a submission is easy

  • Submissions can be as short or as long as you want them to be
  • You don’t have to address each of the terms of reference, but you may want to do so
  • Submissions do not have to be written in a formal manner
  • Submissions can be made here.