IT began with cuts to school cleaning budgets, moved on to non-government school funding and, yesterday, spread to TAFE funding - the O’Farrell government is determined to take the axe to education in NSW and no section is being spared.
The latest announcement from Education Minister Adrian Piccoli, that TAFE staffing would be cut by 800 over four years and fees increased by 9.5 per cent will ensure that every student takes their medicine.
It will also ensure that Mr Piccoli faces opposition from a united sector which traditionally has spent more time squabbling about whether the non government schools have been getting more or less than their fair share.
Educations unions and professional associations now have a common enemy, one which has shown scant regard for the funding certainty which all schools need to plan their budgets and even less for the educational outcomes of our children, regardless of their parents’ perceived financial circumstances.
Locally the impact of the proposed funding cuts are still being assessed - or reassessed as Mr Piccoli reveals each chilling instalment - but it is certain that parents who pay significant fees in the non-government sector will feel it most in the family budget.
Parents with children in the state system won’t be faced with compulsory fee increases, they and their children will simply have to live with whatever cuts to equipment, activities and resources their school is forced to make to live within its means.
In the TAFE system increases in course fees will simply deter some students from continuing a school education or returning to formal education after a stint in the workforce without adequate skills.
It is should not escape anyone who works in education, or has a child in the education system that the O’Farrell government has embarked on its cutting spree at a time when the Gillard government is promising to increase federal funding in the wake of the Gonski report.