07 August 2012
Why TAFE cuts could cost lives
Teenagers are often highly sensitive beings. When a school friend betrays a confidence, the pain is strong and real. When the confidence is sent "viral", a day at school can become hellish.
So it was with Sarah's son. Soon, the school had the child on suicide watch. He wasn't able to cope, let alone learn, in the toxic environment of taunting and humiliation. He was withdrawn from the school and enrolled in a TAFE youth unit.
This boy steadily regained his confidence and enthusiasm to learn. Sarah believes the unit "saved him". Two years later and her son is on track for finishing his VCE, and is growing personally from his interaction with a mature peer group at TAFE.
Youth units and adult education within regional TAFEs are never great "earners". These units' incomes cover wages, but they will never be able to meet the up to 40% "corporate" levy that is now being demanded by managers to cover withdrawal of full service funding by the Baillieu Government.
Regional youth units are the first casualties: closed or closing, they are unlikely to be replaced by any profit-driven private providers. It's not too dramatic to suggest that TAFE cuts may cost lives.
— Posted by Neil Hauxwell, teacher, Central Gippsland Institute of TAFE