Closing TAFE campuses, selling off the land and replacing them with shopfront support centres is the Liberal-National state government backdoor way of cutting services to rural and young people according to Dawn Walker, NSW Greens TAFE spokesperson.
‘The National Party and outgoing Lismore MP, Thomas George, have been working hard to spruke their new ‘digital TAFE hubs’ known as Connected Learning Centres, but closing TAFE campuses is their real agenda,’ she said at yesterdays 50 strong rally outside Murwillumbah TAFE.
Ms Walker was joined by the general community and Teachers Federation representatives to highlight the current agenda of the state governments policy to close TAFE campuses and replace the with poorly resourced support centres.
‘I’ve already visited the first TAFE shopfront in Dapto, near Wollongong where a once-thriving TAFE campus with 650 students has been replaced with a pop-up shopfront with no library, no toilets and minimal support for students. It’s embarrassing quite frankly, and regional communities should be very alarmed about this Government’s ongoing attempts to undermine our public TAFE system.’
Rebecca Mitchell, who completed a tertiary preparation certificate in 2016 at Murwillumbah TAFE before studying law at Southern Cross University, said that it was the face to face teaching that got her through.
‘I’m dyslexic and without the support staff and teachers here I would never have done it. It’s the staff here at Murwillumbah that did it, by offering support, by telling me I could do it, by giving guidance and staying back when they didn’t have to,’ she said.
Highlighting that the town is growing and the high levels of youth unemployment Ms Walker said that ‘cutting teaching staff and replacing face-to-face learning with online modules in shopfronts. This will have a devastating impact on learning outcomes for many students, especially those requiring extra support services.
‘The National Party need to come clean with our community and promise not to close Murwillumbah TAFE campus when they install a shopfront.’