Re-instate VET Courses at Mac.Rob

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The Mac.Robertson Girls' High School has recently made the decision to remove all Vocational Education and Training courses from its VCE curriculum. There was no student consultation before making this decision and this has left many students upset and unsure about their future study options. This has also affected many students who are currently studying or plan to study these courses, who must now find alternative courses, or study a VET course in their own time. VET subjects are hugely valuable study options which are offered at almost all secondary schools in Victoria, and provide unique opportunities and certifications which cannot be found elsewhere. We thus urge Principal Stout to reconsider this decision and re-instate VET courses into the Mac.Rob curriculum.

Students who want to study VET in 2020 will now need to do this in their own time and fund their courses themselves. This cost can range from $3,000 to over $10,000 and poses a significant burden on students and their families, many of whom cannot or will not pay for these courses. Furthermore, most courses take place on a Wednesday afternoon and require students to have a free period during their last period in order to accommodate travel time - which the school has stated they will no longer allow. Therefore it is unlikely that most students will be able to enrol in these subjects, which will have a significant impact on the quality of their education. In particular, this is likely to impact students who studied Units 1/2 VET in 2019, who will now have no opportunity to continue their VET studies and will have to significantly alter their study plans.

The justification that has been given is that it is not fair to ask all Mac.Rob students to fund the small number of students who study VET courses. However, the same argument could be made that it's not fair to ask everyone to fund maths when not everyone studies maths, or that it's not fair to ask everyone to fund drama when not everyone participates in drama. The cost for MacRob of offering VET is approximately $80,000 per year, which is fairly insignificant in the context of a school budget, while the cost of approximately $5,000 for individual students is insupportable for many families. As a government school, Mac.Rob has an obligation to provide a free education to everyone - including students who are interested in pursuing vocational pathways. 

The school has also engaged in stigmatisation of VET subjects, by calling them "hobbies" and "not in line with MacRob student pathways", thus perpetuating the misconception that all MacRob students are planning to pursue tertiary study and that VET subjects are useless or not academic enough. Many MacRob students can provide anecdotal evidence of the elitism that is prevalent at MacRob with regards to VET subjects, which comes from staff, students, and senior administration.

We urge Mac.Rob to reconsider its decision to cease offering VET subjects, and to engage in further student consultation before making such drastic changes.