Save Creative Writing in TAFE


We the signatories to this Petition wish to emphatically voice our disappointment, frustration and anxiety over the enormous negative changes to the current Diploma of Professional Writing & Editing course (21675VIC) occurring as a result of the latest review and re-accreditation process carried out under the auspices of Skills Victoria.

We deem the newly accredited course to be inferior to the one currently running, and manifestly inadequate in terms of the skills/knowledge requirements of industry, and for further-study (degree) pathways.

Central to our concerns are:
1. The re-accreditation process.
The hasty, intimidating and non-consultative manner in which this was conducted, with the strong suspicion of a predetermined agenda to eliminate\minimize units encompassing creative writing genres (read: poetry, short story, novel, popular fiction, literature) that do not have a direct vocational outcome. This ignores the fact that students (in these genres) acquire a premium quality; writing-communication skill-set that makes them highly valued (and employable) in any (office/administrative/communications) environment.

2. The Course structure.
The extremely limited nature of the new course (compared to the current one) in terms of:
a. course duration (half the current teaching hours). Currently, the majority of students need to complete both the Certificate 1V and Diploma years to achieve the Diploma. The new course has no pre-requisite for a Certificate 1V, instead being a one-year stand alone course. This will severely diminish student skills and knowledge acquisition, leaving them under prepared and under qualified
b. course structure: the range of core units is too large and prescriptive, whereas the choice of electives is confined almost totally to corporate/commercial units
c. course outcomes. The shallow nature of the new course will result in less weighting in terms of industry employment. It will also seriously compromise, if not deny students the university Bachelor degree pathways currently available.

3. Exclusion of creative genres.
Two of the basic tenets of the TAFE education sector are access and equity. The exclusion of and discrimination against prospective TAFE writing students wanting to study the creative genres denies them both.

Almost to a person, the writing industry stakeholders, students, teachers and writing course managers/coordinators spoken to by this writer, have expressed real concerns for the long-term viability of the newly accredited course.

It is the firm recommendation of the petitioners that instigation of the newly accredited Professional Writing And Editing course be postponed until at least the beginning of 2012.

And that in the interim, we recommend that a further review and (if necessary) re-accreditation process take place; one that avoids the pitfalls and shortcomings of the last; one that listens to and takes the advice of the various stakeholders on the Steering Committee; and one that results in a course that:
• is commensurate – in terms of its delivery hours and structure – with the needs of prospective students in meeting the skill and qualification requirements of employers and higher education pathway providers
• adheres to the principle of equity by acknowledging, through an expanded choice of elective units, that poets and fiction writers (both literary and popular genre) have as much right as corporate/non-fiction/ad-copy/music writers to be taught their craft. That both the vocational and creative aspects of the writing industry be acknowledged as equally valid and valued.