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Issue #1549      30 May 2012

Baillieu’s TAFE cuts threaten only sign language diploma in Victoria

The Baillieu government’s $300 million budget cut to TAFE threatens the existence of the Australian Sign Language course at Kangan Institute in Richmond, the only one of its kind in Victoria, the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) said last week.

“Since these cuts were announced in the Victorian budget, hardly a day has gone by without more details emerging about the extent of the damage they will cause to our TAFE system,” said Dr Colin Long, NTEU Victorian secretary.

“Nearly all of the state’s 18 TAFE institutes have announced they are considering significant course closures and staff redundancies.

“Now the Australian Sign Language course at Kangan Institute of TAFE in Richmond could be the latest casualty.

“This course is the only one of its kind in Victoria and provides sign language training to deaf people as well as interpreters, teachers of the deaf and other professionals.”

According to an article in The Age Kangan Institute has told students the course was “unviable” and would close by the end of the year.

“The Auslan diploma is obviously vital in improving the lives of deaf people,” said Dr Long. “There is already a shortage of interpreters for the deaf and the closure of Kangan will make this situation worse.

“It is another example of the way socially vital but financially difficult to sustain courses provided by TAFE have been swept up in the devastation of these cuts.

“I have no doubt this won’t be the last important course to be placed under threat as TAFE management struggle to comes to grips with the extent of the funding cuts they face.

“The Baillieu government needs to realise how wrong headed their planned cuts are and reverse them now.”  

Next article – Kimberley gas industry struggle heats up

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