Scott Morrison’s TAFE for the rich

(Caricature courtesy Bruce Keogh / keoghcartoons.com.au)

The Coalition Government’s policies have starved TAFE in favour of private-sector VET training, effectively making it an educational option only for the rich., writes Leisa Woodman.

Affordable, practical education through Technical and Further Education (TAFE) is part of the Australian consciousness in a way that many may not even realise.

Quality materials and competent workmanship have long been taken for granted in our society, and Australians have for generations been creatively stimulated by the secure knowledge that their educational journey is never over.

Even if one had been coerced into an unsuitable degree, or dropped out of high school, there was still a way back into learning through TAFE.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has mysteriously declared he wants to “raise the status” of TAFE courses in Australia, saying they are “as good as uni”.  He has revealed that “reform” of the vocational education sector would be at the forefront of the agenda at the Council of Australian Governments meeting in Cairns. Australians should rightly demand of the Prime Minister, whether this plan for reform is going to address how TAFE has morphed in recent years into what one teacher termed, “education for the rich”.

VocEdAustralia@VocEdAustralia

GoogleVET:PM declares ‘TAFE is as good as uni’ as vocational training placed on COAG agenda – The New Daily https://ift.tt/2YRGOaj 

PM places TAFE, vocational training on COAG agendaPrime Minister Scott Morrison has declared “TAFE is as good as university” and in many cases pays better, before COAG talks begin in Cairns on Friday.

The full fees payable for many diplomas are now comparable to university fees. While each student is allowed two chances at accessing government-subsidised study before having to pay the full fees, even these subsidised courses cost many thousands of dollars. Fees are payable upfront in the case of certificates, that don’t allow deferred Vocational Educational and Training (VET) loans. What working-class person has thousands sitting around handy? According to the TAFE educator, students manage to pay these fees if “they have benefactors”.

TAFE proudly advertises that students can access fees by instalment, but when a student enquires about this scheme, they are informed they must allow for $80 to $90 left in their bank after repaying their fortnightly fee contribution, which could be $70 dollars or more. A simple calculation reveals this is impossible if living out of home, on any government payment.

To make matters worse, many TAFE diplomas now have prerequisites for entry — meaning a student may exhaust their two subsidised courses by the time they get to the course they really want to do.

Scott Morrison may have declared that ‘TAFE is as good as university’, but Australia is a long way from having policies that support students equitably across the tertiary education system. By @andrewjnorton https://grattan.edu.au/news/the-rewards-of-vocational-education-need-to-be-better-known/ 

The rewards of vocational education need to be better known

Prime Minister Scott Morrison may have declared that ‘TAFE is as good as university’, but Australia is a long way from having policies that support […]grattan.edu.au.

Fees also differ wildly from one state to the next. A Diploma of Building and Construction costs $37,168 at TAFE South Australia, but under Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews’ progressive TAFE policy, is free to the unemployed in Victoria. One can imagine the few remaining prospective students not excluded by the cost being perturbed by the instability and so, it seems, student numbers are down across campuses.

There is a chance for the Federal Government to address a real problem. Many employers in technical fields, such as pathology, are now asking for university degrees for no reason other than that so many have them. The result of people choosing universities, who probably should have attended TAFE institutions, is that degrees have lost their value in the labour market. Some entry positions now, in reality, favour a master’s degree, which, mostly uncovered by Austudy, is also only accessible to the rich.

To attract students back to TAFE, employers must begin to see education as a set of suitable skills, rather than a spending competition. However, this is an ethos directly in competition with the goals of our present Coalition Government.

It has long been the policy of the Coalition to effectively “starve” TAFE in favour of the private sector of VET training, ripping out $3 billion in funding in the past six years. One suspects that Morrison’s plan to raise the status of TAFE will simply be a language project designed to justify the now prohibitive costs at disastrously underfunded campuses.

TAFE cannot be revitalised with words. Only a sustained injection of funds to TAFE can end predatory Registered Training Organisations and restore technical education to its rightful place in assisting Australians from all backgrounds to gain, diversify and upgrade their skills easily throughout their lives.

You can follow Leisa Woodman on Twitter @LeisaWoodman.

Adam Curlis@TAFEeducation

@GladysB and @ScottMorrisonMP seem to be singing from the same hymn sheet. After years of funding cuts & neglect, why the sudden interest in TAFE?

What exactly have they got planned for our public TAFE system? https://twitter.com/TAFEeducation/status/1162174463489609728 

“I have always had a vision universities & TAFEs have to work much more closely together & the diversification of our economy & … having that fed back to me from the companies I am meeting” I am intrigued ⁦⁩. Which companies?

SOURCEAAP:https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/scott-morrisons-tafe-for-the-rich,13020

PM pushing TAFE students into jaws of a profit-driven feeding frenzy

The Morrison Government’s push to put the private sector at the forefront of Australia’s VET sector will only create a profit-driven feeding frenzy that hurts the career prospects of thousands of Australians who need access to high quality vocational education.

Since being in government the Federal Coalition has already overseen $3 billion cut from vocational education and training (VET) and 140,000 fewer apprentices now than when it was elected.

Australian Education Union President Correna Haythorpe said that Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s plans to privatise VET would leave hundreds of thousands of trainees and apprentices across Australia at the mercy of profit-seeking private training providers.

“Putting profit-seeking private training providers in charge of vocational education is all about helping big business line its pockets at the expense of ordinary Australians,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“The Prime Minister is on record as saying he thinks TAFE is as good as university. Yet if this is the case, why has he stripped $3 billion in funding from TAFE, our world-class public vocational education provider?”

“If Mr Morrison supports TAFE so strongly, why didn’t it get a single mention in the Federal Budget? Why do we have 140,000 fewer apprentices learning their trade today than back in 2013?” Ms Haythorpe said.

“History has already shown us, via the VET FEE-HELP scandal, that private training providers will go into a feeding frenzy in their drive to extract profits from VET students.”

“People need to remember that Australia will always need TAFE as a strong public provider at the heart of VET to provide affordable and high quality vocational education,” Ms Haythorpe said.

The latest available data from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) on government funding[1] shows that:

  • since 2013, the year the Federal Coalition was elected, the number of students in government-funded vocational education has fallen by 25%, from 1.48 million to 1.1 million. In addition, the number of hours of vocational education delivered has fallen by 28% between 2013 and 2018.
  • in 2017, following the VET FEE-HELP scandal, nearly $1.2 billion of public money flowed directly to private providers.
  • despite the fallout from the VET FEE-HELP scandal, in 2017 more than a third of the hours of training delivered by private providers were funded from public sources (34.5%) and more than a third of all state and commonwealth publicly funded hours (34.3%) were also handed to private providers.

“Despite the clear and undisputed benefits that a fully funded high quality public TAFE sector provides our economy and our society, there has been a concerted and continual drive from successive Coalition governments to marginalise vocational education and deprioritise TAFE,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“The Morrison Government just isn’t concerned enough about the 25% fall in TAFE enrolments on its watch to even acknowledge the existence of TAFE anywhere in the budget, let alone to do anything about this crisis.”

“Instead of reigning in private providers and rectifying the incalculable damage they have inflicted on the sector in recent years, Mr Morrison plans on handing them the keys to the piggy bank,” Ms Haythorpe said.

Ms Haythorpe said that TAFE must remain a strong public provider of vocational education in Australia. She called upon the Morrison Government to:

  • Guarantee a minimum of 70% government funding to the public TAFE system. In addition, no public funding should go to private for-profit providers, consistent with other education sectors.
  • Restore funding and rebuild the TAFE system, to restore confidence in the quality of the courses and qualifications and the institution.
  • Abandon the failed student loans experiment, and cancel the debts of all students caught up in private for-profit provider scams.
  • Re-invest in the TAFE teaching workforce and develop a future-focused TAFE workforce development strategy in collaboration with the profession and unions.
  • Develop a capital investment strategy in consultation with state governments, to address the deplorable state of TAFE facilities around the country.
  • Support a comprehensive independent inquiry into TAFE.

“Any proposal which undermines the importance of the Commonwealth and state and territory governments working together to build a strong, vibrant, fully funded public TAFE will be fiercely opposed by the AEU,” Ms Haythorpe said.

/Public Release. View in full here.

Improvements to TAFE top of COAG agenda

Improving the nation’s vocational system is at the top of the agenda at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in Far North Queensland. The nation’s leaders were met by a group of protestors on Friday as they came together for the first time since the federal election in May. The leaders are expected to consider the recommendations of a recent review that identified a spate of challenges in the education and training sector. The Australian Industry group called for reforms to ensure there were enough skilled Australians to support the government’s $100 billion infrastructure pipeline. The group also raised concerns about a growing skills shortage and a struggling training system. Image: News Corp Australia

SOURCEAAP:https://www.theaustralian.com.au/video/id-5348771529001-6070193432001/improvements-to-tafe-top-of-coag-agenda