The Guardian June 28, 2000


NSW TAFE funding blow

NSW Premier Bob Carr is the self-proclaimed "Education Premier", but 
like most self-congratulatory claims, it turned out to be empty rhetoric. 
In its 2000/001 budget delivered in May the Carr Government cut funding to 
education as a proportion of total expenditure from 26 percent to 22 
percent.

And even though TAFE student numbers are expected to surge by 38 percent 
this year  to 623,000  due to Olympic-related courses, the budget 
requires 730 more full-time equivalent TAFE jobs to be cut.

TAFE funding this financial year will be reduced by $57 million. Around $15 
million of that amount will be the result of cuts to education spending by 
the Federal Government. When allowance for inflation is made the NSW Tafe 
budget cut equates to $133 million, or 10.5 percent in real terms.

The NSW Teachers' Federation (NSWTF) says the additional enrollments of 
171,000 will create massive problems for staff in TAFE colleges.

"Over the last two budgets the teaching staff have been reduced by 
approximately 15 percent while equivalent full-time student numbers have 
increased by 2.6 percent", said NSWTF Assistant General Secretary, Phil 
Bradley.

"The Carr Labor Government is expecting fewer teachers to cope with an 
increased number of students. This means that the quality of education will 
suffer as class sizes increase and direct student-to-teacher contact is 
reduced."

Mr Bradley said an attack such as this could not be tolerated. "Those most 
affected by the budget cuts are working class families. Such cuts 
invariably fall most heavily in second-chance education areas such as 
literacy, numeracy and English to speakers of other languages, disabilities 
and other access and equity programs."

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