TAFE Education Local Issues

Adjournment - SunniTAFE Nursing Course

8 March 2016

Mr WALSH (Murray Plains) — The matter I raise is for the Minister for Training and Skills in the other place. It concerns SuniTAFE in Swan Hill and particularly the diploma of nursing course, which is supposedly being delivered at the Swan Hill campus. The minister will be attending the SuniTAFE Swan Hill campus on 16 March to officially open its new facilities, which are partly being used to deliver the nursing course. The action I seek from the minister is that he gets assurances from SuniTAFE before he does the official opening that the diploma of nursing course will be delivered properly in the future because it has not been in the past. If he does not get those assurances, I would like him to consider not doing the official opening.

It has been raised with me by a number of my constituents that throughout 2015 and the start of this year students in the diploma of nursing course have raised concerns about the teaching staff and the sustainability of the course with senior management and have not received answers. The issues they have raised, and which they have raised with me, are that there are inadequate staff numbers to actually deliver the course, the absence of workbooks for subjects being taught in a classroom environment, the failure to plan placement times and future dates for students, inadequate heating and cooling in the classroom and the fact that the projectors and computers are not working all the time.

The students have been raising complaints through the official complaint process with SuniTAFE without any response, which is something they are very concerned about. Subjects have been marked as competent when students have not had any teaching contact learning. Students are required to complete work that they consider is completely outside their scope, and students are very unsure as to whether the course will be finished or whether they will have to be compensated for their time and their costs. Some of those students have borrowed money to do the course, so they are quite stressed about these particular situations. One of the students in particular has become so frustrated with the lack of answers from SuniTAFE that they have taken this to the Ombudsman to ask the Ombudsman to investigate these particular situations.

As I said, the action I seek is for the Minister for Skills and Training in the other place, who will be in our lovely city of Swan Hill on 16 March to do that official opening, to sit down with the management of SuniTAFE and get assurances that the failings of that course are corrected so that students — particularly those who work at jobs to pay for the course and have to plan their work time around their course time and those who have borrowed money — have an assurance that they can graduate and get suitable employment in the future.

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