The Commonwealth Government has decided that Australia’s young people should be either “learning” or “earning”. Yet the institutions in which they are expected to learn have been under constant attack by state governments. As the Victorian coalition government heads into an election in November, it is timely to look back on their history of cuts to education and the impacts these are having on young people and their families.
My eldest son completed VCE in 2012. At high school, he had vague ideas about becoming an architect like his grandfather, however I suspect this was because he thought it would be a bit like a more sophisticated version of playing with Lego. His real love was building “stuff” not buildings.
TAFE provides students the opportunity to pursue employment opportunities. Surely any responsible government would want people to seek employment instead of relying on welfare benefits therefore any government should support the value of high quality vocational education. TAFE provides students with an opportunity to pursue University level courses.
Neoliberal policies of economic rationalism have seen increased cuts to spending to TAFE colleges. This bureaucratic belt tightening has been manifested in a number of ways including; reduced teaching hours, cuts to part time jobs and increases to student fees.
The best measure of TAFE’s success, is not only the achievements of its graduates, but also their eagerness to credit their success to TAFE. “If it hadn’t been for TAFE…” is a sentence we often hear from TAFE graduates as they share their stories of how TAFE turned their life around, gave them the second chance they needed, or in the case of Adam Moore gave them the education they needed to pursue their dreams.