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Department of Technical Education, Sydney, New South Wales

Medal - Operative Painters and Decorators Union Proficiency Award, c.1974

Image: Medal - Operative Painters and Decorators Union Proficiency Award, c.1974

Source: Museum Victoria

In 1848 education in New South Wales was placed under the control of two boards: the Board of National Education for schools established under Lord Stanley's System and the Denominational School Board for denominational schools. These two boards functioned concurrently until 1866 when the Public Schools Act replaced them with the Council of Education.

Technical education in New South Wales originated in the Schools of Arts around this time. In 1865 a state-subsidised mechanical drawing class was held by the Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts. In 1878 a state-subsidised technical college was established providing scientific, technical and professional training. On 24 July 1883 the Executive Council appointed a Board of Technical Education as the basis for a state system of Technical Education. The Board took over supervision of the Sydney Technical College from the School of Arts Committee.

In 1880, with the passing of the Public Instruction Act, education was transferred to the control of the Department of Public Instruction. On 15 November 1889 the Board of Technical Education was dissolved by proclamation and technical education was transferred to the control of the Minister of Public Instruction (later designated Education) to be administered through the Technical Education Branch of the Department.

In 1949 the Technical Education and New South Wales University of Technology Act established a separate Department of Technical Education, administered by a Director under the control of the Minister for Education. The Act also established a Technical Education Advisory Council to represent industry, commerce, the professions, the trade union movement and educational authorities. The Council made recommendations to the Minister with respect to technical education in the State and the co-ordination of the functions of the Department of Technical Education with those of other educational bodies.

In 1974 the Technical and Further Education Act repealed the 1949 Act and constituted a Department of Technical and Further Education (TAFE) and a Council of Technical and Further Education. This Council had a similar composition and role to the Advisory Council which it replaced. The Education and Public Instruction Act of 1987 brought all the major provisions covering Primary and Secondary Education under one act.

In 1990 the Department of Technical and Further Education changed its name to the Department of School Education and a major restructuring of TAFE was endorsed by the government. The Technical and Further Education Commission Act established TAFE as a statutory body known as the Technical and Further Education Commission. The Commission had a subsidiary corporation which could enter into commercial agreements and contracts. The Act also constituted the TAFE Commission Board.

In 2003 TAFE conducted more than 1,200 courses in 110 colleges and 250 teaching centres throughout New South Wales.

References:
NSW Government State Records website http://www.records.nsw.gov.au/cguide/sy/tafe.htm, accessed 3/12/2003.

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