Communist Party of Australia

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Issue #1603      July 24, 2013

TAFE cuts cause major drop in enrolments

The Australian Education Union (AEU) has slammed the Victorian government over new figures showing TAFE enrolments have fallen by 21,000 government-funded places in the first quarter of this year.

AEU Victorian branch president Meredith Peace says the Napthine government’s TAFE cuts in 2012 are responsible for tens of thousands of students no longer being able to attend TAFE due to an increase in student fees and the cancellation of courses across institutions.

“With a 17 percent drop in Diploma and Advanced Diploma enrolments, the Napthine government is on track to fail to meet its agreement with the federal government to double the number of people with qualifications at these levels.”

Ms Peace said the government must be accountable for their actions and take responsibility for the fact that thousands of Victorians are no longer enrolling in TAFE due to significant fee increases, campus closures and courses no longer being offered.

The figures from the Victorian Training Market Quarterly Report show that the drop of 21,000 enrolments amounts to an overall decline of 7 percent.

“What is clear is that students are deterred from study due to the increase in costs and lost opportunities.

“Minister Hall has pointed to a 4% increase in enrolments in ‘specialised or in-shortage occupations’ over the last year. What this tells us is that choice has been taken out of student hands, and TAFEs are losing the breadth of their occupational training offerings and opportunities.

“We have no doubt that we will continue to see bleak statistics from our TAFEs, arising directly from the Victorian government’s cuts.”

The AEU has repeatedly called on the government to commit to a well-resourced, high quality TAFE sector that encourages learning, rather than making it less accessible for students.

“The Napthine government is solely responsible for the dire situation our public TAFEs are in. The only way they can rectify this situation is by reinstating the $300 million per year they cut without further delay,” said Ms Peace.

“The TAFE market share of Vocational Education and Training is now only 45% and this government seems determined to undermine the public TAFE system with its current policies.”   

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