Friday, July 15, 2016

TAFE NSW Restructuring

The NSW Government has announced, that TAFE NSW's ten institutes will be merged into one state wide institution, with surplus buildings closed, administrative staff reduced and more on-line and workplace learning (NSW Tafe, 2016). This follows a report from Boston Consulting, commissioned be the government, which found TAFE NSW was not competitive with private sector Registered Training Organizations (RTOs).

The goals set for the restructured institution  are to:
  • "deliver the best possible education and training outcomes for students
  • be relevant to employers and responsive to
    industry change
  • be flexible, efficient and competitive
  • be a leader in quality and innovation
  • be accountable to the taxpayer."
    From TAFE NSW (2016, p. 4).
Another implied goal is to be the "... State’s largest vocational education provider..." (TAFE NSW, 2016, p. 4). The vision also mentioning TAFE NSW "... retain its competitive strengths...". However, what has made the TAFE different from the RTOs is what also has made it noncompetitive: many regional campuses and face-to-face delivery.

The new NSW TAFE strategy is for a "digitally capable workforce" (TAFE NSW, 2016, p. 5). The question then is, if TAFE NSW is to adopt the same on-line delivery techniques as the commercial RTOs,using a small number of instructors, can it be competitive and why is it needed?

The vision notes that TAFE NSW has 2,000 buildings at 129 campuses, with the "... land and property footprint is estimated to be at least 20 per cent greater than requirements" (TAFE NSW, 2016, p. 8). However, to make the institution competitive a much higher reduction in buildings and campuses may be needed.

TAFE NSW is to "bring together" eleven existing online platforms.The obvious option would be to Moodle/Mahara, as commonly used elsewhere in higher education. But TAFE NSW has had significant difficulties with its on-line systems. It may be preferable to contract out the maintenance and operation of the on-line system to a proven provider.


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