TAFE cuts doubly bad for women, union says
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) says that it doesn’t always agree with the Victorian TAFE Association but it’s prepared to make an exception when it comes to the Association’s pronouncements about the effect of TAFE cuts on women.
“The TAFE cuts are bad news for everybody but private training providers but they’re doubly bad for women,” said Dr Colin Long, the Victorian Division Secretary of the NTEU.
“As the Victorian TAFE Association pointed out today, courses favoured by women in vital areas such as such as child care, aged care and community care have been slashed. Eighty per cent of courses overall have had their subsidies cut but it’s not just a matter of courses. It’s also a matter of TAFE fees which, in some cases, will be six times what they are now,” he said.
“TAFE has been a boon for disadvantaged women and women returning to the workforce after having kids. It has offered them a supportive environment to get back into study and well as providing services such as libraries, child care and counselling that private training providers don’t deem necessary in their relentless pursuit of profits.”
Dr Long said the TAFE cuts are a body blow to women in Melbourne’s West and throughout regional Victoria.
“Many women in the West come from non-English speaking backgrounds and do it tough. A number are recent refugees. TAFE courses are a direct stepping stone into university. Victoria University has made it a mission to make higher education accessible to women, by providing them with the necessary support and encouragement to move from its TAFE arm to the university proper,” Dr Long said.
“This is the whole point of having a dual sector university in a disadvantaged area like Melbourne’s West but the Baillieu couldn’t give a toss. He’s too hell bent on punishing TAFE for the rorts of private training providers.
“The disastrous effects on women and people from disadvantaged backgrounds are two more reasons the Baillieu Government must be forced to reverse its decisions on TAFE.”
Dr Long said that up to 25% of students at dual sector universities got a leg up from TAFE.
“Everyone says Australia needs to be a smart country but what the Baillieu Government is doing to TAFE is just plain stupid.”
Media comment: Colin Long, Division Secretary, NTEU Victoria, 0403 920 361
More info: Carmel Shute NTEU Media Officer: 0412 569 356