AEU welcomes Greens plan for free TAFE and University

AEU welcomes Greens plan for free TAFE and University

by Freya Lucas

March 30, 2022

The Australian Education Union (AEU) has welcomed a plan from the Australian Greens Party to make tertiary education at university and TAFE free, saying enormous study debts are holding young people back. 

 

Along with the pledge to make tertiary education free, the Greens party would preference TAFE for Vocational Education and Training (VET) funding, abolish all existing student debt, guarantee every student a livable income, and boost funding to universities by 10 per cent. 

 

The casualisation of the VET workforce and academics would be addressed under the plan in a bid to increase job security in the sector, and a Green Education Infrastructure Fund would be developed to make public universities and TAFEs more sustainable and accessible. 

 

The pledge was welcomed by the AEU with Federal President Correna Haythorpe saying if these goals were achieved they would make an enormous difference for members and the students they teach.

 

Ms Haythorpe said the recently released Centre for Future Work report highlighted the legacy of neglect by previous Governments on the VET sector, with TAFE enrolments now at historic lows and apprenticeship completion rates collapsing.

 

“The drift towards short-term, low quality and non-accredited courses is leaving Australians without the skills and qualifications they need to be successful in the workplace,” Ms Haythorpe said.

 

AEU members who are part of the TAFE system report increased workloads, increasing casualisation and shaving of teaching hours.

 

“TAFE should be the anchor of our vocational education system,” she added. “We are delighted that the Australian Greens have committed to reversing TAFE cuts, ensuring better job security for TAFE staff, slashing casualisation and ensuring students get the skills and qualifications they need to get a job.”

 

Ms Haythorpe closed her remarks by calling on all political parties to commit to preserving at least 70 per cent of total government vocational education funding for public TAFE institutions.

 

For more information about the Greens proposal, including an outline of the party’s ambitions for early childhood reform, see here

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