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Issue #1604      July 31, 2013

New survey exposes the state of Victorian TAFEs

A new survey shows that Victorian TAFE institutes are claiming government money for face-to-face teaching time that students do not receive, through a practice called “shaving”, to cope with severe budget cuts.

TAFE institutes are shaving hours off the delivery of courses, allocating less direct contact time for teachers to cover course content with students.

Nearly 65% of Victorian TAFE teachers say they have had hours shaved off their course delivery, on average by 25%.

The Australian Education Union’s annual State of our TAFE survey of 500 TAFE teachers found that over 90% of teachers strongly agree or agree that the quality of education their TAFE is delivering is being affected by a lack of funding.

The survey also showed that over 82% of teachers don’t believe that the needs of students are always taken into account when courses are designed – a 22% rise on last year’s results.

In addition, 58% of teachers believe that the quality of education students receive today is worse than 12 months ago – a 10% rise on last year’s results.

AEU Victoria president Meredith Peace said the results were indicative of the pressure Victorian TAFE institutes were under as a result of the 2012 state budget decision to cut $300 million per year from the public TAFE system.

“The strength of Victoria’s economy is dependent on the skills of our workforce and TAFE provides the necessary skills and training to hundreds of thousands of Victorians each year,” Peace says.

“But as a direct result of the state government’s cuts, student fees have increased, courses have closed and over 2,000 staff have lost their jobs over the past 12 months.”

Peace says that the latest quarterly report on Vocational Education and Training in Victoria shows that current government TAFE policies are proving “a total failure for our state”.

“Enrolments are down between 7% and 9% across the state. That’s 21,000 government-funded places in the first quarter of this year.

“Too many students are being driven away from the education and training system because of higher fees. The state government must reinstate funding to the public TAFE system without further delay,” Peace says.

Other survey results found that 92% of teachers believe reduced contact time will make it more difficult for students to successfully complete their studies.

Over 63% of teachers had noticed a drop in enrolments at their institute this year, 72% of teachers said that they had considered leaving their job and over 51% of teachers said class sizes have increased over the past 12 months.  

Next article – Henri Alleg: His horizon – Peace, Socialism, and Fraternity

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