TAFE in Australia: beyond survival
TAFE colleges and campuses across Australia have been significant key public education institutions for over four decades. The educational mission and breadth of the important work that TAFE does is unfortunately not well understood or recognised.
The Abbott Government has been erratic in vocational education, as in many other areas, in its first 18 months of office. It started badly with early decisions to reduce quality controls, appoint supporters to key government advisory posts and further cut unions from contributing to policy on vocational education.
The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government supports TAFE NSW as the backbone of the State’s training system. TAFE is a dynamic organisation which sets the benchmark for quality and delivers the skills needed in a growing economy.
2013 was a terrible year for TAFE in Australia. It was the year that the funding cuts and the "reforms" really hit students, teachers and communities. But it was also the year when more and more people joined the campaign to defend public vocational education in TAFE.
In response to a suite of changes to the VET sector announced by Minister Macfarlane in early September, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), the national VET regulator, is set to invite more than 800 registered VET colleges - the majority of them private for-profit - to apply for the right to change their courses and introduce new ones, without permission from the regulator. More than 1000 colleges may be offered this opportunity, in a sector which has, according to The Australian “displayed no lack of imagination in exploiting money trails.”
My eldest son completed VCE in 2012. At high school, he had vague ideas about becoming an architect like his grandfather, however I suspect this was because he thought it would be a bit like a more sophisticated version of playing with Lego. His real love was building “stuff” not buildings.