WALLSEND MP Sonia Hornery has decried cuts toteaching hours, courses and student numbersat Glendale TAFE, blaming state government restructuring of vocational education.
Ms Hornery told State Parliament on Thursday the institutionwas reeling from government reforms, including the redirection oftraining to private providers, increased course fees and the introduction of aflawed $500 million enrolment and technologysystem.
“Since March 2011 the hours of part-time teachers at Glendale TAFE have been cut due to a lack of funding.Teachers are being threatened with having the hours in a full-time working week increased without a pay rise to match,” Ms Hornery said.
“A Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care costs around 11 times what it cost just three years ago. Three years ago it cost $1500 at Glendale TAFE.”
The Education Department’s annual report last year showed the number of teachers and support staff in the TAFE system had dropped by2000 since 2011.
Member for Lake Macquarie Greg Piper said the cuts were stifling the capacity of the campusto provide skills training for the local manufacturing and clean industry sectors.
“Welding and metal fabrication courses at Glendale have provided valuable skills to a great number of young tradespeople over many decades, but the future of those courses has been rattled by funding cuts and cuts to staffing levels,” he said.
Responding on behalf of the government, Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen said TAFE enrolments had increased to more than315,000 students this year, withnewstudents up 27 per cent anda 14 per cent increase in Certificate IV to Advanced Diploma level commencements.
“Labor and the Greens believe that all VET courses should be free,” he said.
“They arehappy for this government to fund courses like basket weaving, bookbinding and hula hooping.
“This ignores the reality of responsible economic management.Labor’s ideology is one of propping up inefficiencies at the expense of training opportunities.”