Attempt to freeze TAFE funds thwarted
The refusal of most state governments to sign a new federal agreement for TAFE highlights the Howard Government's appalling treatment of the Tertiary and Further Education sector, says the Queensland Teachers' Union (QTU). The proposed agreement would effectively freeze TAFE funding. The QTU applauded the resolve of the state Ministers last week in refusing to sign the Federal Government's funding scheme for 2001-2003. Federal Education Minister David Kemp met state Vocational Education Ministers in Canberra in an attempt to have an agreement signed which would fund vocational education, including Australia's TAFE institutes. QTU President Julie-Ann McCullough described the Federal Government's offer as "miserable and sub-standard". "We have calculated that an injection of $310 million per year is required to restore the damage done by the past funding freeze", said Ms McCullough She said it was becoming increasingly difficult for TAFE teachers and tutors to meet the learning needs of growing numbers of students. "TAFE is an extremely important sector of our education system and deserves to be treated better than a politician's plaything used to manipulate employment figures.