Vouchers won't fix the TAFE system
Jennifer Westacott and the Business Council of Australia’s proposals for Education and Skills released at the National Press Club today are another disappointing suggestion that fails to recognise the very real issues facing vocational education in this country.
Thus far TAFE advocates have lost the argument that TAFE has a vital and distinctive role as the public provider of Australian vocational education and training. The folly of this will be recognised, perhaps in 20 years, when the failures of purely marketised vocational education will be so obvious that they overcome the strong bipartisan ideological commitment to the market.
This piece was originally printed in The Australian TAFE Teacher magazine which was published prior to the 2013 Federal Election. As such, when John refers to "the next federal election" it does mean the September 2013 Fedral Election.
Government ‘reforms’ to TAFE are destroying a key institution that contributes to Australia’s well-being, social cohesion and economic prosperity. The purpose of the changes is to create markets in vocational education and training and to transform TAFE into a commercial provider of services that competes on the same basis as private-for-profit providers.
I see, in TAFE, all around me, teachers who care, passionately, about what they are doing, are good at what they do, but who face losing their jobs anyway. I’ve seen them at Open Days and Careers Expos, talking earnestly with prospective students and parents, offering good study and career advice, which has satisfied those listening, often leading to a heartfelt “thank you so much!” from those listening. But those teachers might still lose their jobs.
Pat Forward: This is a big move for you, but it’ll be a big loss for the Australian TAFE system. You been a big supporter of the TAFE system and you’re also a product of the TAFE system?