Course axing has 'chain reaction'

Rodney Laukens protests at Bremer Institute of Tafe yesterday at the cutting of art programs at the centre.
Rodney Laukens protests at Bremer Institute of Tafe yesterday at the cutting of art programs at the centre. Rob Williams

BREMER TAFE has axed its visual art and design course, leaving four part-time staff without jobs and more than 80 students forced to study elsewhere.

The students and staff were notified of the closure yesterday, with student Rodney Laukens chaining himself on campus in protest of the cuts.

Bremer Institute of TAFE director Paul Sutcliffe said the closure was due to falling enrolments and was not related to the Newman government's budget cuts.

Mr Laukens was joined by his classmates who protested against the closure.

"The art class is just gone. The only place in Ipswich that does art. It's great for kids straight out of school," he said

"What this program has done for the people that have graduated, they have gone on to other stuff in the community. Our teachers back us up fully and give us motivation."

The students are enrolled in the 26 units at the TAFE.

Mr Laukens said if students wanted to continue their studies, they would need to enrol at Brisbane campuses.

"The prices are more expensive. It's going to put out a lot of people out who are keen to get there diplomas."

Mr Sutcliffe said the TAFE would still offer courses in graphic design

"All students will have the opportunity to complete the subjects they are currently enrolled in," he said.

"The business model of the TAFE allocates funding according to enrolments. Due to low demand, it was impractical to offer these courses."

The Switch Contemporary Artspace director Leanne Vincent said the closure was a major blow to the Ipswich art community.

Ms Vincent is proof the art program delivers, having graduated from the TAFE in 2003.

"It's really important to the community because there is no other program like this on offer in Ipswich," she said.

Topics:  bremer tafe, courses, protest, staff, students



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