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EDITORIAL: Longy needs access to program

Dean Lawson Editorial Nov 2017
We hope Longerenong College’s ineligibility to provide free courses under a new State Government TAFE program is a simple oversight.
Such an oversight would be bad enough, suggesting a lack of understanding about what’s happening in tertiary agricultural training across the state.
But a disqualification of rapidly evolving Longerenong College from the scheme while fully aware of industry circumstances would be a case of nonsense bordering on negligence.
It stands to reason that if you have identified agriculture as a priority tertiary-study area and you have an institution already offering designated courses, the institution would automatically qualify under the ‘free’ program.
But not so, it seems – for the moment at least.
Only official Technical And Further Education providers will be able to offer courses under the Free TAFE for Priority Courses scheme announced in the state budget.

Longerenong College moves on despite big miss on TAFE
This might be okay if the 30 courses listed as free under the program didn’t include Certificates II, III and IV in Agriculture – the same courses that are an integral part of Longerenong College curriculum. Suddenly, despite Longerenong College kicking all sorts of goals, making the most of its tenancy on State Government land and the agricultural industry hungrily gobbling up its graduates, it finds itself at a disadvantage against ‘free’ course providers elsewhere. This is far from fair.
The government’s free-course program, if it truly means free of charge, is a philosophical winner – the provision of free tertiary and training for all Australians should be an ultimate goal of modern society.
But the state needs to quickly modify its latest scheme to avoid disparity in service provision, especially in agricultural education and training.
The scope of the scheme in agricultural training, at least, must go beyond TAFE colleges.
Meanwhile, Longerenong College staff members working in a marketing coalface appear far from fussed, believing the college’s reputation and unique hands-on learning environment are all the incentive they need to continue to attract students.
We hope they are right, but at the same still call for parity.
A positive part of the scheme in our region is that it might work in favour of students considering tertiary training at Federation University’s Wimmera campus.
The university has official recognition as a TAFE institution and as part of its Wimmera operations boasts a well-established and successful nurse-training program.
One of the TAFE courses that qualifies under the government’s free scheme is a Diploma of Nursing.

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Posted on May 9 2018

Posted by on May 9 2018. Filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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