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Issue #1737      June 29, 2016

Fight for TAFE

Analysis by the Greens provides fresh evidence that the 2012 National Partnership Agreement on Skills Reform, that forces state governments to pit their TAFE colleges against dodgy private providers, must be abandoned.

The most recent financial data for federal vocational education and training (VET) loans shows that it costs taxpayers 7 times more to educate a student through a private college than a public TAFE.

The contestable funding model that underpins the agreement is wasting hundreds of millions of dollars and places students in unnecessary debt in the VET sector.

The only winner from the Labor government’s 2012 National Partnership is the corporate training sector which is taking hundreds of millions from the public purse while delivering very little in the way of educational outcomes.

Key findings from the 2014 data from the Australian Government Department of Education and Training:

  • Wasted millions on private providers: On average taxpayers spent $73,200 to successfully educate each private VET student, but only $10,500 in public TAFEs.
  • Fee hikes: In 2014 average VET tuition fees grew nationally by 28.9%. The average tuition fee in NSW grew from $9,928 in 2013 to $13,094 in 2014 – nearly 32%.
  • Completion rates: TAFE has significantly higher completion rates than private colleges, with a success rate of 87% compared to just 44% for private providers.
  • Mismatch in funding: In 2014, TAFE educated 47% of VET students nationwide, yet received only 20% of VET FEE-HELP loans. The other 80% went to private providers. It is almost certain that when the 2015 data is released later this year it will show even greater deterioration in each of these indicators.

It is time to tear up the damaging 2012 National Skills Agreement, stop the privatisation of VET and guarantee that all public funding of vocational education training goes into the public TAFE system.

“Stop Privatisation Before it Stops TAFE”

The Greens are calling on all political parties to sign up to renegotiating the National Partnership Agreement on Skills Reform, due to expire in June 2017 under the following principles:

  • The immediate tearing up and renegotiating of the National Skills Agreement with contestability removed and replaced with a clear and unambiguous preference for public money to be directed to public providers.
  • A commitment in NSW for 100% of all public VET funding to go publicly owned and run TAFEs, with money being diverted to private providers only where TAFEs are unable to provide the course and
  • Full public funding for Diploma and Advanced Diploma courses at TAFE and an end to the VET-FEE Help income-contingent loan scheme.

Next article – “Our people deserve much, much better” – Redfern Statement

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