TAFE members to rally in city today14-12-2011
A giant Christmas card signed by TAFE AEU members is being hand delivered to the Minister for TAFE Tom Kenyon today, asking that he be Santa instead of Scrooge regarding skills training.
TAFE members will gather outside the DFEEST Building (11 Waymouth St) at 4.30pm to call for a guarantee that TAFE will survive.
That’s by no means certain, as the South Australian government has been pursuing reform of the vocational education sector based on a Victorian model which has devastated skills training there.
AEU SA President Correna Haythorpe says the sector faces a crippling double whammy, with the reform agenda coinciding with the current round of budget cuts and job losses.
“It’s little wonder TAFE staff fear for the future of their sector,” she says.
“The government is rushing headlong into reform without proper analysis of the Victorian debacle - since opening its VET sector to private training organisations 16 of that state’s 18 TAFEs have run at a loss and face collapse.”
“This so-called ‘reform’ pits TAFE against private providers intent only on profits. Our Victorian colleagues report that private providers are cherry picking the most lucrative courses and skimping on the quality of training. This bolsters their bank balances and leaves TAFE to do the hard yards providing the more expensive courses. We don’t want that to happen here,” she said.
“Yet now we have the South Australian government’s “Skills for All” agenda that’s practically a carbon copy of the discredited Victorian scheme.”
“We’re not content for the Minister to simply claim that Skills for All is different; we want a guarantee that the disaster across the border won’t be repeated here.”
“Our Christmas wish of the Minister is for him to put the implementation of Skills for All on hold until there’s been a forensic examination of what went so terribly wrong interstate,” Ms Haythorpe says.
“We then want him to make public the precise details of how Skills for All differs so that we can judge whether the safeguards it’s claimed have been developed are sufficient to ensure that TAFE survives as the provider of choice.”
“There’s also a fundamental issue of student access to quality training; this isn’t just an argument about privatisation – it’s also about ensuring students get the rich quality courses they deserve to emerge with real qualifications and strong job prospects."