THE NSW Teachers Federation is continuing its fight to save the jobs of educators at correctional facilities in the region.
A protest took place outside the Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen’s Muswellbrook office on Wednesday evening to highlight the plight of those mentors set to be displaced at St Heliers and Cessnock.
The NSW Government plans to expunge 132.5 of 152.5 full-time teaching roles throughout the state – 85 per cent – to make way for clerks and private-provider trainers to run education in prisons.
At St Heliers, near Muswellbrook, four qualified permanent roles will be deleted while 9.5 are slated to go at Cessnock, being replaced by two and four clerical positions respectively.
“It’s totally unacceptable,” organiser Rob Long said.
“The [local] teachers received their voluntary redundancy notices on Tuesday.
“So, we’re calling on the government to reverse its decision to sack them.
“Hunter TAFE and school teachers initiated the action.
“But, the impacts [of the government’s stance] have far greater consequences.
“Lowering educational standards by replacing qualified teachers with non-teachers will not help prisoners turn their lives around.
“And, a number of programs will be affected [by the decision].
“High-quality education is essential for prisoners to develop the skills and motivation to gain employment and contribute positively to our society as law-abiding citizens.
“They’ll be an asset to the community and totally employable.”
Mr Long said more than 150 hours of education, per week, were currently available for prisoners at St Heliers and Cessnock.
“The inmates have expressed their disappointment,” he explained.
“They’re very concerned what will happen to them if this [decision] goes ahead.
“At St Heliers, two non-qualified positions will be created to administer education at the facility but not to teach.
“There is a tender process happening now to provide training.
“At the moment, 50 hours per week are delivered by the permanent teachers of foundation literacy, numeracy and IT.
“Other vocational courses are provided by TAFE.
“At Cessnock, it’s even worse – 100 hours per week are being delivered by the permanent teachers.
“Now, the government is talking about creating four non-qualified roles.
“How will that assist people to function again within their community?”
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