Top and below right: a TAFE stop-work pre-election rally in Brisbane drew attention to adverse government policies on TAFE

TAFE agenda set to attract voter backlash

Robert Long
TAFE Organiser

The privatisation of vocational education funding and its impact of TAFE NSW is set to be a major issue on polling day, March 28.

Privatisation of public assets was also an issue in the recent Victorian and Queensland elections, resulting in the defeat of first term right-wing
governments.

The NSW Coalition Government’s privatisation of vocational education funding policy, Smart and Skilled came into effect on January 1.

Federation’s Stop TAFE cuts campaign has been advising the community for more than two years that Smart and Skilled is detrimental to quality vocational
education. Student fee debt has increased, courses have been cut, students’ time to learn slashed and the colleges have experienced low enrolment numbers.

In addition to these problems the Baird Government has inflicted a new student administration and enrolment software on TAFE, the Learning Management and Business Reform (LMBR) program, known as EBS, in recent months.

Multiple logistical problems for students and teachers have been caused by its implementation including providing potential students with incorrect information about course fees, and disrupting TAFE student enrolments and the receiving of academic results.

Local TAFE Teachers Association branches have condemned the Baird Government’s decision to implement Smart and Skilled policy at the same time as the LMBR program.

In December an Auditor-General’s report highlighted the Government’s mismanagement of LMBR. The full implementation of LMBR was expected by December 2014, at a total cost of $483 million. Now it is expected to cost $573 million by June 2015 with the program yet to reach full implementation.

The LMBR has been trialled in 229 public schools and the government has under-estimated the support schools need to successfully implement it. The report states that significant additional funds will be required to implement the HR /payroll system to the 2000 schools. There appear to be no immediate plans to implement LMBR in public schools.

All Federation members are encouraged to join the campaign events listed on the campaign website at Stop TAFE Cuts or at Unions NSW.