As we navigate a third year of COVID, the AEU recognises the toll the pandemic has taken on the mental and physical wellbeing of teachers and students alike. At times, this has been exacerbated by the lack of frequent and clear information from the Department of Education and Training (DET), and inconsistent implementation by some TAFEs.
While our fellow members in schools and early childhood received regular briefings, Skills and Higher Education members weren’t as fortunate. Conflicting information and a lack of clarity has led to an increase in stress and uncertainty for our TAFE members. We will be pushing for clearer communication from the department moving forward.
There has also been some concern about a downturn in the number of domestic enrolments of students in the 18 to 20-year-old age group. Fatigue with remote learning is likely a major factor. Students are attracted to TAFE for the hands-on experience in a well-supported environment by teachers who are highly qualified in their vocation as well as in education. We’ll continue to advocate for the safest possible working conditions.