Ag college closures ignorant, bloody minded and anti-rural
Letter to the Editor
Closure of ag colleges is ignorant
I WRITE to express displeasure and frustration with the decision taken by our State Government to close two agricultural training colleges in Queensland.
This cannot be described in any other way than ignorance, bloody mindedness, anti rural and anti community development.
Having had three sons graduate through Emerald Agricultural college during the 1980s and a grand daughter currently in attendance I am qualified to comment on the magnitude of the loss to both the rural sector and society at large.
University was not a productive option for our sons and I believe the same applies to many who are inappropriately led into remaining as students for four or more years beyond primary education, with minimal potential to convert that time into a productive contribution to personal and greater community development.
The hands on skills, balanced with technical and supportive education applied through these rural training colleges offered the perfect foil to students being forced to move through university on theoretical auto pilot, all too often having those years add nothing to their future.
The skills and appreciation of community responsibility imparted to my sons by their Ag college experience has played a visible and productive part in their personal and family lives in the thirty years since their Emerald Ag college training.
I recall a professor emeritus and friend being adamant that 50 per cent of his students were ill placed at university. In his view, those students were on a hiding to nowhere and the public investment in their supposed "education" was a waste of time and money by any measure.
Agricultural training facilities and TAFE colleges offering hands on training leading into skilled jobs and apprenticeships are potent options for students who then have a matured capacity and some real work experience to go back into a well chosen university course commensurate with their capacity, should they choose to do so.
One considers the obvious and massive waste of funds on various fronts by this government compared with the relatively insignificant impact of the costs associated with these Ag colleges.
The lack of vision and capacity to encourage participation in future basic skills stands in stark evidence of disinterest of government in its rural people.
Our uncommitted parliamentary Agricultural minister would have been well served to attend the recent Burnett region inter school Hoof & Hook competition sponsored by the Gympie Beef Liaison Group.
Two hundred and forty students from 17 district high schools participated in a three day camp in Gympie. The student support was obvious and any concept that rural skills education does not have a place was completely discredited.
We saw the reversal of a decision to build an ill conceived dam here appropriately reversed, though be it at massive cost. The decision to close these two facilities equally deserves reversal given a comparatively soft financial landing and unrealised potential for the future.