NSW education jobs cut


NSW education jobs cut

By Rose McCann

SYDNEY — The Greiner government has announced that 800 jobs will be axed from the Department of School Education head office.

This is two-thirds of all jobs in the department. The government is also offering voluntary redundancy to the remaining 1199 staff in an effort to secure even more permanent job cuts.

As in 1988, when the government slashed 2500 teaching positions and 800 ancillary staff, public education is again the first to suffer from Greiner-style "economic rationalism" following its re-election in May.

Government spokespersons have couched the attacks in rhetoric about putting more resources into the classroom and trimming an unwieldy bureaucracy. So-called devolution of resources to regions has been the linchpin of the Scott "reforms" initiated by former education minister Terry Metherell, and the cuts are being presented as an extension of this.

In reality, as the NSW Teachers Federation has pointed out, the cuts are a money-saving exercise pure and simple, and will mean even further dismantling of structures needed to help the most disadvantaged students and schools. Equity programs for girls, non-English speaking background students, special education programs and curriculum support will all be affected.

The NSWTF is not opposed to devolution, but argues that the way it is happening will impose enormous workloads and responsibility on individual schools and teachers without systemic support.

The cuts are also opposed by the Public Service Association. The NSWTF annual conference from June 30 to July 2 will consider industrial action over the cuts.