TAFE numbers drop as privatisation plan draws backlash

TASTAFE enrolments have fallen by more than 11,000 since the Liberal Party was elected in 2014.

The latest TasTAFE annual report shows 21,189 students were enrolled at the public education institution in 2019, down from 32,711 in 2013 – one year before the Liberal Party took office.

Over the same period TasTAFE teacher numbers also took a hit, dropping by 54 to 838.

Australian Education Union Tasmania TAFE President Simon Bailey said the 35 per cent drop in TAFE enrolments since 2013 showed the State Government lacked investment in TasTAFE.

“Over the past seven years we’ve seen a direct reduction in Certificate II courses while TAFE programs in colleges basically disappeared overnight,” he said.

“The Certificate II programs, which have decreased, were required courses under the Government’s funding deed but the organisation didn’t deliver them.

“The issue now is those programs can’t be ramped-up because there aren’t enough teachers.”

Mr Bailey said TasTAFE Construction South this year had more than 100 students eager to enrol in a Certificate II construction course, but TAFE could only take 28 students.

The State Government’s privatisation plan for TasTAFE is a backwards step at a time when adequate TAFE funding is needed, Mr Bailey said.

“Teachers feel rightfully shocked over the Liberals’ plan to privatise TasTAFE,” he said.

“TasTAFE has the flexibility to grow under the current model but instead the Government is more focused on privatising TAFE and shifting costs onto teachers and students.”