Casualisation of workforce gags teachers, union rep says

NSW Teachers Federation organiser Adam Curlis with Greens MP Dawn Walker and Glen Innes High School High School federation representative Mercurius Goldstein. Photo by Tony Grant.
NSW Teachers Federation organiser Adam Curlis with Greens MP Dawn Walker and Glen Innes High School High School federation representative Mercurius Goldstein. Photo by Tony Grant.

NSW Teachers Federation organiser Adam Curlis travelled with Greens MP Dawn Walker on her tour this week of TAFE colleges transitioning to Connected Learning Centres, and said he was very sad to see TAFE equipment being given away.

“A lot of this equipment – like purpose-built workstations – was built up by dedicated TAFE teachers. It belies understanding.

“If there’s an issue with funding, how can they give away this equipment?”

He understands in Tenterfield some of the equipment is finding its way into local schools which is good in some respects, but allows the government to abdicate responsibility for funding schools.

“It’s quite shocking, and it’s happening in other campuses as well.”

He also feels there’s a lack of learner support under the new model for those facing disability and numeracy and literacy challenges and in general learning-how-to-learn courses, with focus shifting to fee-paying students.

He doesn’t see the mobile education units proposing to provide practical, hands-on training components as compensation for loss of face-to-face teaching.

“NORTEC and ETC tried it, and it totally failed,” he said.

“It’s a major expense and a gimmick. It won’t service students’ needs.”

Mr Curlis said MP Adam Marshall’s projection of full-time staff numbers at the Glen Innes campus doubling (to four) by November only returns staffing levels to what they were in 2012. Back in 1991 the campus had 12 full-time teachers, and a staff of 28.

“The trend now is going towards casual teachers. There’s a casualisation of the workforce, with the underlying message ‘don’t make waves, or you’ll lose hours’.”