Compliance paperwork means less teaching

TAFE Teachers Association members across NSW have been holding union branch meetings to oppose the “Next steps in demonstrating your VET currency and competency” proposal, initiated by acting TAFE NSW managing director Kerry Penton.

Members want time to teach, not to increase their workload on meaningless administrative and compliance work.

The meetings have passed resolutions critical of the proposed currency and competency process, describing it as cumbersome, overly prescriptive and unworkable.

TAFE teachers take the role of training young Australians very seriously and they don’t need to fill out forms to prove it.

It is about time state and federal governments realise that the more time teachers spend filling out forms is time taken away from the vital task of skilling the workforce of the future.

The 3 February 2020 deadline to complete the currency and competency demands of TAFE management is totally unrealistic. Furthermore, this deadline was never raised with Federation for consultation prior to its announcement.

This increased compliance workload for all teachers will again add to the bureaucratic administration that continues to grow and takes teachers away from their central role of lesson preparation, teaching and supporting students.

The support for the currency and competency process outlined by the acting managing director does not address the unrealistic workload that TAFE is proposing for all members, including teachers, head teachers, Education Support Officers, Assessors and others.

This proposal is a clear indication of the failure of competency-based training and the contestable funding model implemented by federal and state governments, including Smart and Skilled.

The employer has devolved its responsibility to provide meaningful professional development to the TAFE teacher workforce. This abrogation of responsibility over many years has extended to blatant refusal to approve professional development requests by teachers.

Federation also points to the situation of acute teacher shortages, due to retrenchments, redundancies and retirements especially since the NSW Coalition came to power. Acute teacher shortages not only affect course delivery, but also mean there is limited opportunity to provide suitable release to allow our members to attend necessary professional development activities.

All TAFE Teacher Association branches are encouraged to organise a local branch meeting to discuss this issue and send branch resolutions to Federation in support of further negotiations with TAFE management.

Should genuine support from TAFE not be forthcoming, including release from teaching to allow time to complete the tasks required, members will consider further action.

This critical issue for the future of the TAFE teaching profession will be discussed at the TAFE TA Council meeting on 25 October at 3pm, Teachers Federation House, 23-33 Mary Street, Surry Hills. Each TAFE college should organise for a delegate from your TAFE TA branch to attend the meeting.

– Rob Long and Annette Bennett TAFE Organisers