Newcastle TAFE teachers and students prepare to protest online learning

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Newcastle TAFE students and teachers will gather for a campus protest this week against the move to switch engineering apprentices to e-learning.

Teachers and students will meet at the entrance to Maitland Road around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The NSW Teachers Federation has publicly denounced the TAFE’s decision to shift the teaching of engineering apprentices from the first stage to e-learning for eight weeks of classes.

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As a result of this decision, students, including Certificate III students in Welding and Metal Fabrication and Fitting and Machining, will go through the most crucial stages of their course to learn online.

TAFE Federation organizer Annette Bennett said the decision was made purely to save money.

“No matter how the management of TAFE tries to run it, this change in course delivery is deeply and fundamentally flawed and is motivated only for budgetary reasons,” she said.

“This is yet another example of the failure of the questionable funding model; federal policy that has seen billions of dollars withdrawn from vocational education over the past decade and 140,000 fewer apprentices in training.

As an institution, TAFE is renowned for its hands-on approach to education allowing students to acquire practical skills in a simulated workplace, which MS Bennett said students will now miss.

“In addition to the ongoing access and equity issues associated with online delivery, forcing students online deprives them of the social aspects of learning in a face-to-face environment,” she said.

“This cost-cutting exercise will hurt students. “

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