An AEU report on TasTAFE changes to teaching and learning, released today, highlights the concerns of TasTAFE teachers for their students and for vocational education in Tasmania.
“TasTAFE teachers believe TasTAFE management needs to reconsider their approach and their understanding of our function and purpose as the Tasmanian Government’s post Year 12 Vocational Education and Training (VET) provider,” says Simon Bailey, AEU President of TasTAFE Division
“When you think like a private provider and act like a private provider, you become a private provider and then the bottom line becomes reducing costs, with diminished outcomes for students. The cumulative impact of the decision by TasTAFE to push students into off campus e-learning and more online delivery hours, as a way to reduce costs, is deeply worrying.”
“Post-COVID the government might be wanting to create jobs, but without well trained and job-ready workers for those jobs, we cannot grow the economy and we cannot keep Tasmanians safe at work.”
“It is TasTAFE’s job to raise the education capital of Tasmania and provide skilled and ready workers for hundreds of Tasmanian trades, industries and services. The current approach from management is setting many students up to fail.”
“We need more and better-resourced VET teachers to deliver good quality, engaging learning experiences to students so they stay connected, continue learning and participate successfully in work and community life.”
Teachers believe TasTAFE management’s plans for 2021 ignore research’s evidence and their own warnings about the poor learning and completion outcomes that are associated with students’ vocational learning experiences when dominated by e-learning, large class numbers and less on campus face-to-face time with teachers.
“The decisions being made by TasTAFE management are being sold as modern solutions, yet these decisions, teachers believe, will be to the detriment of quality,” says Simon Bailey, AEU President of TasTAFE Division. “Without sufficient hands-on, practical learning experiences, good campus facilities and contact with teacher experts, education outcomes and completion rates will be adversely affected.”
“Teacher narratives indicate low morale and a sense of hopelessness and disempowerment about the difficult situation teachers now find themselves in; once essential, now dispensable. Teachers believe the reputation of TasTAFE, and their capacity to do their job well, is being compromised and sabotaged through TasTAFE management’s lack of understanding and appreciation of their professional knowledge and practice.”
“Classes that were 20 students doing Certificate IV and attending face-to-face three days a week, are now looking at 30 students on campus for just one day a week with the rest being so-called self-directed e-learning.”
“They are setting many of our students up to fail,” continues Simon Bailey. “TasTAFE’ s shift to predominantly self-directed e-learning and increasing student to teacher ratios means students get less time with teachers, less time on campus and less time practicing the skills and techniques demonstrated to them by experts in their field of work. “
“Thrown in the deep end of the new TasTAFE approach, many students will drown and it’s such a waste of potential workers for our industries with so many who just won’t get through.”