Classes in disarray amid fire clean-up

As communities on the NSW South Coast continue the clean-up effort after the destructive bushfires, TAFE courses are in disarray with enrolments down and classes cancelled.

Communities are still dealing with the aftermath, with many students indicating they are not ready to enrol in courses, which has delayed the start of classes.

Federation members in the TAFE South Region have been working under great difficulty since the start of the year to get students into classes. Funding cuts have put pressure on TAFE managers to increase class sizes due to reduced funding per student enrolled.

At the start of the year, TAFE management in the South Region directed head teachers to not start classes with small numbers. The directive stated “only those classes that have minimum numbers are allowed to commence”.

No consideration had been given to bushfire- affected towns and no concessions for students affected. Classes in Food and Beverage, Business, Early Childhood, Information Technology, Animal Studies with unexpected small enrolments were delayed or cancelled. Members raised with TAFE management that students ready to start classes should not be disadvantaged and classes should begin with small enrolments.

Federation and the South Coast Labour Council called on Minister Geoff Lee to provide urgent support for affected students. As a result courses in Business and Early Childhood commenced.