Increase funding to TAFE, not more student loans
As the unfolding funding catastrophe in TAFE and vocational education was revealed again this week, it has elicited calls from those who have been at the forefront of the introduction of Income Contingent Loans into the sector to further expand them to lower level VET qualifications. As the magnitude of this disaster unfolds, it makes no sense that those at the forefront of the creation of a VET market espouse a further shift of funding responsibility for the sector onto individual students.
Neoliberal policies of economic rationalism have seen increased cuts to spending to TAFE colleges. This bureaucratic belt tightening has been manifested in a number of ways including; reduced teaching hours, cuts to part time jobs and increases to student fees.
TAFE changes lives. It is the backbone of communities around Australia. It is a world-class asset. TAFE teachers say these things because they see how TAFE transforms their students’ lives every year. Warren Easterbrook, a teacher at Glendale TAFE, not only sees his students flourish and grow, but is abundantly aware of how TAFE has shaped and supported his family for four generations.
Kate is a small business owner, Stop TAFE Cuts supporter and proud TAFE graduate. Her initial training in industrial chemistry at the Gordon Institute led to her first job working at a milk factory in cheese production during the 1960s.
I live in a very small rural town and the nearest place I could do my chosen study was at TAFE in Seymour, 12 kilometres away.
After having such a traumatic time at high school and flunking most subjects, achieving nothing higher than a D, a D+ if I was lukcy, I thought I was destined to become just a volunteer or the self-taught office girl who could never move ahead - just watching everyone around me move on in their careers.