Politicians unfairly banishing TAFE from vocabulary and funding

TAFE should not be dismissed by governments, as it has in the Council of Australian Government’s recent statement on Vocational Education and Training (VET).

The word TAFE was not uttered once in the 461 words, instead containing sentences like: “All jurisdictions acknowledge the importance of a viable and robust system of both public and private providers, and the particular role of state and territories in facilitating the public provision of VET.”

While politicians have ignored TAFE in the “Vision for Vocational Education and Training” National Centre for Vocational Education Research data illustrates why TAFE should not be discarded from politicians’ vocabularies.

The majority of government-funded vocational education and training students attend TAFE or another government provider (51.7 per cent in 2018).

And, the number of government-funded vocational education and training students attending TAFE or another government provider is on the rise (up 0.9 per cent, 2017-2018), while students using “other providers” (includes private providers) dropped by 5.3 per cent).

TAFE should be fairly represented in conversations about the vocational education and training sector by our political leaders.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s statement on 2GB that the TAFE system enrols only 16 per cent of students in training overlooks that half the total enrolments are for short courses such as first aid or responsible service of alcohol, Paddy Manning commented in the Saturday Paper (August 17)(August 17). “When it comes to proper training courses under the Australian Quality Framework, TAFEs account for a much larger share.”

If politicians think that voters won’t notice governments are neglecting to properly fund the TAFE system if they don’t use the T-word, they are wrong.

Market-based funding is failing students, communities and industry.

TAFE needs guaranteed funding now.

— TAFE Organiser Robert Long and TAFE TA Secretary Adam Curlis