Another 6 per cent of TAFE education, including some business and English language courses, would be conducted remotely, allowing students to work through printed and other material made available online. About one in five students will receive a combination of electronic and face-to-face teaching for courses including pharmacy, counselling and animal studies.
NSW Skills and Tertiary Education Minister Geoff Lee said most of the courses would include some level of online education. He said 5000 TAFE teachers had received training in online course delivery. But there would always be a need to provide face-to-face teaching.
“You can’t learn to be a plumber by reading a website,” he said. “We have to leverage the best parts of distance and online and connected learning.”
Dr Lee said course theory had been put online but TAFE NSW was still working on the delivery of teaching practical skills. This included practical demonstrations of skills in health professions.
TAFE NSW managing director Steffen Faurby said some courses would continue to provide face to face teaching but virtual classrooms and online learning were here to stay.
Face-to-face classes would be smaller and strict hygiene practices imposed. Nursing, aged care and trades courses were among those that would continue to incorporate practical training.
“My expectation is that we will have the vast majority of courses being run online as connected courses,” he said.
“It is a way for us to expand, to reach corners of the state and have potential future students we otherwise might not have reached. It has massive advantages.
“It is not just a COVID response, it is a more general trend”
The NSW Teachers Federation contacted its members yesterday to raise concerns about the NSW government stalling on enterprise negotiations to give TAFE teachers a pay rise.
The Federation’s deputy secretary and TAFE spokeswoman Maxine Sharkey said she was disappointed that unlike school teachers and TAFE administration staff and management staff, TAFE teachers have not received a 2.5 per cent pay rise.
Anna Patty is a Senior Writer for The Sydney Morning Herald with a focus on higher education. She is a former Workplace Editor, Education Editor, State Political Reporter and Health Reporter.