The authors of this letter make various allegations concerning the situation at Gippstafe -
Crisis of confidence in Gippstafe
We are a collaboration of concerned education professionals who have worked in the vocational education sector for a significant part of our careers.
We have all worked in the education system long enough to realise that ours is an industry of continuous change, of review and renew and we support the principle of continuous improvement.
Our issue is not about change, but about the demise of standards and management at Gippstafe.
Some of our best teaching staff have walked away in dismay and disgust at the structural decay and the lack of integrity in educational outcomes in servicing the Gippsland region.
Our staff are our most valuable resource.
There is currently a crisis of confidence at Gippstafe with a lot of good staff literally hanging on by their fingernails as standards are forced down and teaching departments threatened.
Gippstafe had a number of departments which were leaders in the state and in some areas nationally.
Some of our best staff have been let go with no skills or knowledge transfer before they left, when our core business depends on our skills and knowledge base.
Our Energy Training Campus at Chadstone have lost specialist staff at an alarming rate.
Staff turnover at Gippstafe has reached epidemic proportions.
There are serious questions which need to be asked and answered.
How can Gippstafe justify cutting the Auslan course while executive staff get tens of thousands of dollars in bonuses?
Student support services have been slashed; the youth pathways position was demolished, along with the student counselor position, yet Gippstafe is located in a region with a high level of social disadvantage and special needs.
Over recent years Gippstafe have dismantled successful youth programs aimed at helping disengaged and at risk youth.
Gippstafe has been transformed from a public provider of quality education to a ... (allegation re returning a profit).
Is this the new face of corporate education?
Teachers have to plead for basic teaching resources while millions are spent creating glossy corporate facades.
Skilled and experienced teaching staff are treated like production workers, teaching departments have allegedly been told that they must deliver the same programs next year in 25% less time.
Student fees have in some cases allegedly trippled, while teachers have allegedly been told to deliver the bare minimum.
Standards are being forced down in what seems to be a cost-driven race to the bottom.
(allegation about bean-counters)
Our new corporate mantra is "tick and flick".
How can executive bonuses be justified when educational standards and ethics seem to be being diminished?
Teaching staff are being devalued.
There is no democracy in Gippstafe, every decision seems to be top down with no consultation or consideration of staff experience or expertise.
Experienced staff have been burnt out, demoralised and in some cases left as broken people.
How many team leaders have crumbled under the pressure in recent years?
(allegation re overseas junkets)
(allegation re compulsory re-programing of teachers)
What about integrity in education?
Teachers are being forced to sacrifice their standards and principals to achieve financial targets.
Teaching departments are being set unrealistic targets, the bar is continually being raised and when they cannot reach these targets their jobs are threatened.
It is obvious that teaching staff have a strong commitment to their students, their profession and the Gippsland region, yet all of our CEO's in the last 13 years have been imported from interstate with no long term commitment to the region.
We need a CEO with a real commitment to servicing the educational needs and aspirations of the Gippsland community.
Personal gain trumps greater good.
We believe that the previous state government sold us out with their "skills reform" and they felt the electoral backlash. Turning education from a socially driven enterprise to a profit driven enterprise with little social or regional responsibility is not in the public interest.
Social dividends have been trumped by executive bonuses.
With a ... (personally identifying information deleted) ... our board of directors, money making is the nature of the business. ...
(allegation re the car fleet).
(allegation re wives employed as consultants and contractors)
(allegation re culture of cronyism)
(allegation re marketing department)
Where is the transparency and accountability?
Management can always find money for consultants and "special projects".
(allegation re solar and wind demonstration trailer)
(allegation re solar equipment)
We request a full audit of due dilligence and process as well as management culture at Gipptafe.
Unfortunately, our lack of confidence in the current whistle-blower laws and corporate gag policy restrict us from putting our names to this document, however that does not diminish the validity of our claims.
Under the current culture anybody who speaks out seems to be shot down and the fact is that we need to feed our families and maintain some professional dignity,
PS. Sour grapes, just clearing the dead wood you might respond.
Well, any dead wood has long gone.
Gippstafe has been through numerous rounds of voluntary and targeted redundancies over the last decade or more, now they are poisoning the roots.
Gippstafe staff are committed to quality outcomes for the Gippsland region.
We all have family and friends who have to live with this social experiment.
For the sake of our kids and our dignity can we please restore educational ethics to Gippstafe.
This document was received by Whistleblowers Australia on 23 November 2011.
Peter Whitley, the head of GippsTAFE, has angrily described the accusations within the letter (above) as "scurrilous".
"To link the notion that courses now have to be viable with the assumption that they've somehow lost rigour or lost quality is quite ridiculous," he said.
The letter called for a full audit of due diligence and process and the management culture at the college.
Mr Whitley said he would not submit to such an audit.
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