TAFE college sales accelerate attack on public education in Australia | #students | #parents

A major educational institution, the Technical and Further Education (TAFE) college campus at Scone, in the Hunter Valley north of Sydney, has been sold by the New South Wales (NSW) state Liberal-National government to Racing NSW.

TAFE colleges have traditionally provided vocational training for qualifications in trades, short courses and more recently, pathways to university, as well as diplomas and some degrees.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s government claims that Scone TAFE is under-utilised. However, TAFE colleges, like universities, have been systematically run down with increasing casualisation of teachers, gutting of courses and increases in fees, taking them well out of the reach of many students, especially in regional areas.

What is even more galling for the Scone community is that the site was rumoured to be selling for $3 million, which is less than it cost to build the college in 1996.

The sell-off is part of a wider assault on jobs, courses and conditions for teachers and students alike. In 2015, the state government had already prepared proposals for the sale of 27 TAFE sites.

Of these, 21 are in regional NSW—areas devastated by unemployment, especially among youth, and ravaged by droughts, floods and bushfires. The Hunter region has a 15 percent youth unemployment.

This month, TAFE NSW released documents that show a planned net statewide elimination of 678 jobs, including student advisors, customer support officers, field officers, VET fee help coordinators, help desk operators, gardeners, caretakers, facilities officers, security guards and site services assistants.

TAFE NSW campus in Ultimo, Sydney (Photo: Wikipedia)

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