TAFE students and teachers rally in Newcastle

TAFE teachers and students with ‘‘nowhere to go’’ next term following State Government cuts to programs and places rallied in Wheeler Place yesterday afternoon to send a message to Premier Barry O’Farrell.

NSW Teachers Federation organiser Rob Long said ‘‘dramatic cuts’’ to courses across a wide range of disciplines and locations have been announced, with more than 30 courses either completely deleted, or with hefty reductions in student numbers.

‘‘This will mean hundreds of students will be denied access to TAFE education and significant job losses for teachers and staff,’’ he said.

A delegation of TAFE teachers met with State MP Tim Owen at 2pm, and Mr Owen had agreed to take their concerns to Hunter TAFE management today.

A spokeswoman for Hunter TAFE said ‘‘minor adjustments’’ to Semester 2 course offerings reflected the TAFE’s ‘‘focus on providing for strong employment and high demand skill areas’’.

‘‘These shifts reflect a decrease in student demand in certain vocational areas and the training needs of industry and business,’’ she said.

But teachers say courses such as music and fitting and turning are being cut despite increasing demand for places, and the cuts are directly linked to NSW Government budget cuts.

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