The NSW Greens have developed a very detailed set of NSW election policies, which present clear priorities, with extensive detail in education. CCA has selected and edited sections of the policies relevant to education, vocational education and training (VET) and the not-for-profit community sector.
It is unfortunate that Greens NSW education policies do not specifically mention the vital and socially beneficial not-for-profit community education sector. The division of VET into “TAFE” (public) and “private” (presumably, the for-profit providers) is a simplistic dichotomy that does not take into account the activities of NSW community providers, which delivered 11% of total NSW VET and 4.4% of government-funded VET in 2017.
The Greens industry policy does acknowledge that “public ownership” of organisations can include mutuals and cooperatives; it is here that the Greens policy can intersect with the NSW community-owned and managed education providers, which by definition are not-for-profit organisations established for community benefit and support.
The Greens older people policy does specifically include improving access to community education and adult education. The regional development policy includes the identification of business opportunities and support for “community, co-operative, and not-for-profit partners.”
EDUCATION AND VET
The Greens NSW Education Policy includes:
- Public schools, TAFE colleges and universities should be free from the need to compete in the marketplace for funding and/or resources.
- Oppose basing education policies on the ideology of consumer choice because it results in destructive competition between schools and TAFE colleges, divides communities, increases inequality, and distorts educational outcomes.
VET, Post-Secondary, Adult and Higher Education
- A publicly funded TAFE system should be the dominant provider of vocational and further education and training, with no student fees or charges so that TAFE is affordable to all.
- An end to privatisation and competitive tendering policies for TAFE, and ensure that no public funding is used to subsidise the work of for-profit training providers.
- Opposing the 2012 Council of Australian Governments (COAG) determination on VET funding which has led to the Smart and Skilled policy. Contestable funding should be reserved only for those locations and provisions where TAFE is not able to provide the delivery.
- Support the abolition of all fees and charges to learners with a priority on TAFE Access and Equity courses, Adult Basic Education, HSC courses, the Tertiary Preparation Certificate, and courses for Aboriginal students and refugees. and ensure that 100% of public VET funding goes to TAFE.
- Restoration of the Adult Migrant English Service (AMES) as a publicly funded, quality provider of adult migrant English education, and to ensuring that AMES programs are not put up for tender outside the public education system.
- Provision of improved access to literacy, numeracy, special education and disability support.
- Tighter registration and accountability standards for private colleges, schools and other private VET providers and the restoration of controls on any expansion of private colleges and private schools and on the credentialing and/or accreditation of their employees.
- ASQA should be properly funded to enable it to place more emphasis on the quality of course delivery to students, rather than an excessive compliance ‘box-ticking’ focus.
- Universities need to be well resourced in order to provide high quality education research, social critique and community services. University should be free to all qualified students.
- No public funding should be provided to non-government schools or colleges where there is potential to disadvantage the public school system, exacerbate socioeconomic inequality or contribute to profits of any corporation or other organisation.
- Abolish all state government funding of non-government schools. Public funds given to these schools under current arrangements should be committed instead to equity programs within the public school system.
- As long as state government funding of non-government schools continues, all public funding of the wealthiest private schools should be abolished and the public funds under current arrangements should be committed instead to equity programs within the public school system.
(There are additional detailed policies on the operation of TAFE, not included here.)
Greens NSW policy on industry and regulation includes:
- Governments can and should continue to play an important role in promoting equitable, efficient and sustainable industry development.
- Public ownership can take a number of forms, including mutuals, credit unions or co-operatives. The company structure should not be regarded as the only form for commercial activity.
- The worldwide movement towards deregulation of economic activity often termed ‘globalisation’ does not eliminate the responsibility of governments to actively intervene in the economy to promote social and economic goals, although it may change the nature of such intervention.
- The Greens NSW reject the assertion that the current move towards deregulation is inevitable.
The Greens NSW policy on older people includes:
- Improve access for older people to formal and informal educational opportunities, including:
- community education, community arts programs and literary skills upgrading.
- Continuing education (Adult Education, School for Seniors, University of the Third Age).
- The involvement of older people in the planning, implementation and evaluation of programs relevant to them.
- Stability in funding and service delivery in these programs.
- Prioritise education and training and wage conditions related to aged care, to encourage more people to enter the sector as workers.
The Greens NSW policy on regional development includes:
- There are benefits to encouraging decentralisation and development of regional towns and communities.
- Regional development can only be successful if there are adequate employment, health, communication, broadband and educational services and activities.
- In working with federal and local governments and the community, cooperative, and not-for-profit sectors to identify opportunities in regional NSW, and assist them in locating to these areas.
- Regional development is an integral part of reducing youth unemployment in regional NSW.
- Identification of business opportunities that can be developed in regional NSW and work to identify public, community, co-operative, and not-for-profit partners.
- Consider projects including research centres, higher and technical education, large business service centres, small businesses and start-up businesses.
- Develop incentives for regional training programs with a focus on youth training as part of regional development.
- Maintain fully-funded public ownership of all regional infrastructure including transport, water, energy, public schools, TAFE colleges, medical, and community service facilities.