TAFE students send message during rally protesting cuts
"HANDS off TAFE, hands off TAFE."
That was the message that echoed through the Coffs Harbour Education Campus as more than 100 TAFE students held a rally protesting the NSW Government's proposed cuts to the education sector.
Most at risk in the spending cuts are arts courses, in particular Certificate courses.
On top of the arts courses available in Coffs Harbour being under threat, there's also the possibility other creative industry courses including furniture design, fashion design, digital media and music will be affected.
Local student Carole Helman was moved by the roposed $1.7billion in cuts to help organise today's rally.
She said having access to an affordable education is something all Australians should strive for.
"I'm outraged at the State government's attack on art and public education," Ms Helman said.
"Education should be accessible to all irrespective of background, age, experience or financial situation. In other words, our Australia 'a fair go for all'."
Ms Helman added the theory Certificate courses do not lead to jobs is simply "not true" and these courses create a pathway for students.
"We've been told that we will not be able to continue through to Certificate 4 to do diploma, even if we could find a way to help with the huge fees that will be introduced for diploma courses," she said.
"Where does that leave us, including the young students in my class who were planning to go through the Certificate courses to become art teachers?"
At the rally students were encouraged to inundate local state member Andrew Fraser, Education Minister Adrian Piccoli and NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell with e-mails and letters expressing their concerns regarding the budget cuts.