AEU survey reveals impact of budget cuts on TAFE: 1400 responses received

by Freya Lucas

July 10, 2020

More than three quarters (76 per cent) of respondents to a recent survey of TAFE employees from every TAFE institution in Australia said that they had considered leaving the sector in the last three years, with survey results showing the depth of impact years of strict budgeting measures has had on the vocational education and training (VET) sector. 

 

The State of Our TAFEs survey, the first for a decade, received more than 1,400 responses from Australian Education Union (AEU) members giving insights from experienced TAFE teachers and revealing the impact of budget cuts across the sector.

 

Approximately $3 billion in cuts to VET budgets have been made during the current Government’s term in office, the AEU said, with TAFE specifically experiencing a nearly 25 per cent decline in enrolments. 

 

Lack of funding was hampering the capacity of various TAFE institutions to offer a full course load, with more than two thirds of respondents saying they were aware that their institution had stopped providing particular courses in the last three years, with a lack of funding cited as the most common reason for course closure.

 

More than 80 per cent of respondents said the budget in their department had decreased in the last three years, while nearly half (49 per cent) of those in teaching roles said class sizes had increased.

 

Of those respondents who indicated that they had considered leaving their position, workload and excessive hours, management approaches, a lack of support for staff and arduous compliance requirements were the most commonly cited reasons for wanting to leave.

 

Almost all respondents (96 per cent) said administration has increased as a proportion of total work time in the last three years and of these 84 per cent said it has increased significantly.

 

“Once the COVID-19 crisis has passed, Australia will have an urgent need for qualified workers across all industries. TAFE is the only institution that has the infrastructure, the workforce and the trusted reputation to meet the challenges posed by COVID-19” an AEU spokesperson said.

 

“TAFE must be supported to deliver high quality Vocational Education. It must be the immediate priority of the Morrison Government to invest in TAFE as the anchor institution of vocational education, to ensure that it is the centrepiece of the effort to rebuild Australia’s economy.”

 

A summary of the survey findings may be accessed here

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