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I ran away from teaching to the country to grow veggies. There are also some chooks and a pair of troublesome goats who were so much trouble they had to go! My simple green life isn't always as simple or as green as I'd like...but I keep trying!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday Rant - T.A.F.E.

As a society, we are more educated now, in a formal sense, than at anytime in the nation's history.  Many now consider the completion of Year 12 as a basic education.  University campuses have grown and enrolments have sky-rocketted.  (That many of these numbers include overseas, fee-paying students, is another argument...there are also many more australian students than in previous generations.)

The elevation of many 'technical' institutions to 'universities' and the growth in, Technical and Further Eduation (T.A.F.E.) courses in recent decades have provided many students, who may lack the ability or desire for a university education, with a solid basis for future employment.  

Many of these institutions are in regional areas, boosting local economies, providing jobs (both directly and indirectly) for locals, while providing skilled employees.  

Regional youth is already disadvantaged in many ways, but access to an appropriate education is one vital key to their success both in a work and personal sense. T.A.F.E. has long been the means for adults to train and retrain, resulting in a better life for themselves and their families.

The Baillieu government recently announced cuts of over $290 million to the T.A.F.E.  sector. The most vulnerable campuses are in country Victoria. Although, Mr Hall, the Minister for Higher and Education and Training, was 'hopeful' that regional campuses would remain viable, he could not make any guarantees.  Well it is a good thing he didn't, because this week saw the closure of the Lilydale campus of Swinburne.  In Gippsland, cuts to the budget and staff positions is putting vocational training, in that area, at risk.  Ballarat University is planing to cut its T.A.F.E. activity by 30 - 40%.

What would Premier Baillieu: 
  • member of the privileged Baillieu-Myer family, 
  • raised in a mansion in the exclusive suburb of Toorak, 
  • privately educated at Melbourne Grammar, 
  • graduate of Melbourne University (when degrees were free...not that a few dollars would have prevented Teddy from studying there - after all, the family has a whole library named after them at this prestigious institution), 
  • Liberal (right) politician, 
  • mentoree of Jeff Kennett (who single-handedly decimated the education sector during his stint as Victorian Premier during the 1990s).
  • friend of big business and developers,
  • member of the Sorrento Golf Club,
  • mates with the rich, 

know or understand about the lives of disadvantaged rural youth, the single mother wanting a chance to be independent, the unemployed manufacturing worker whose job has gone overseas, or the twenty-something who couldn't access the education system when he/she was a teenager, due to cultural, personal, social, health and welfare issues?
Clearly, not much.
Nor does he seem to care.


  1. Cuts to TAFE funding is a joke. Education funding should be sacred. Education fits hand in glove with reducing poverty. If you take away access to TAFE programs and accessible higher education you marginalise a great deal of Australians who rely on them to get a leg up in their trades and vocations, forcing them to live below the bread line or dependant on centerlink. I just don't get it... This government has no idea.

    1. Yep, next they will be complaining about rural youth languishing on benefits and thinking of ways to punish them!

  2. Oh and everyone, no matter what industry knows that a TAFE graduate has more practical knowledge than a University graduate. Me included.

  3. For me one of the saddest parts of the cuts is that its meant the end of the Auslan course at Kangan which effectively leaves Victoria without training for interpreters. Equality of Opportunity? Apparently not if you're deaf, live in the bush, or have ambitions in any area other than traditional academic education etc etc.

  4. What a shame. I know going to a technical trade school here in the US is now almost a better option than a 4 year college. I have met several people with 4 year(or more) college degrees who ended up working with us because they can't get a job in the field they went to school for. I went to a Technical college at age 39 because I never could afford any other schooling before then. My daughter will be going to the same school and I think she will be fine with the education she gets there.

  5. What a short sighted decision - and apart from the inequity, this is at a time when it is recognised that Australia has a skills shortage in many of the trades areas.

  6. I am also very angry about the TAFE cuts as well as cuts to the public service sector. I have so many issues with the Baillieu governments approach that I hardly know where to begin. I hear your concern for regional youth and disadvantaged adults. I have the same concerns for city kids and older people struggling to get a foot in the job market. TAFE has always provided pathways to employment and further education. Without these pathways so many will struggle to find their niche in this world. The TAFE courses that will remain will be expensive (thousands in fees instead of hundreds) making it impossible for many youth and disadvantaged adults to participate in education. Whilst these draconian cuts are happening, $40 million (and the rest) has been granted to Alcoa to maintain 600 people in work and about the same amount is handed over Bernie Ekelstein every year for the Grand Prix. I am very very angry. Jane R

    1. Jane, your anger is palpable...and you say it all so well. I just heard someone on the radio (Jon Faine's show 774) who works at the Lillydale TAFE and he said they were gob-smacked by the closure. He said student numbers had been growing significantly (he gave figures) and has been making a profit. So explain that one.

  7. Hazel, I heard the same interview and was gasping for air when I heard that the Institute was running at a profit. Equally stunning was an ABC interview last night with Daniel Andrews fuelling his party's fight with the Greens with a comment that the Greens are not "living in the real world" in their demand for re-instating funding to TAFE!!! JaneR


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