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Bungled IT system puts TAFEs on hold

Date
June 25, 2013
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Benjamin Preiss

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Laptop. generic computer, technology, wi fi, wireless, internet. 18 August 2006 AFR Photo Louie Douvis   AFR FIRST USE ONLY SPECIALX 56079

The cost of the computer system has ballooned to about $100 million, well over its estimated cost of $65 million.Photo: Louie Douvis

The Victorian government has blamed a ''bungled'' $35 million TAFE computer system blow-out for a lengthy delay in reporting enrolment figures.

The cost of the computer system, commissioned under the previous Labor government to manage student records, has ballooned to about $100 million, well over its estimated cost of $65 million.

But TAFEs have also allocated staff to work on the system, adding to the overall cost.

A spokesman for Higher Education Minister Peter Hall said the quarterly report on the training sector would be available by the end of the parliamentary sitting week, which ends on Thursday.

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''The student management system is yet another example of a bungled Labor IT project and problems with this system have caused delays,'' he said.

TAFE managers regard the first-quarter training report as crucial because it will reveal how last year's cuts of almost $300 million are beginning to affect enrolments. The report was due in early May.

Nine of Victoria's 14 TAFEs have agreed to introduce the system but it is not yet operational at all institutes. Some TAFEs have rejected the system and commissioned a separate program at their own expense.

The cost of the blow-out could cover the combined losses from last year's cuts for many of Victoria's smaller regional TAFEs.

Opposition spokesman for higher education and skills Steve Herbert said the blow-out occurred under the current government. He said the program's implementation in the past two years had been an ''absolute botch job''.

TAFE institutes relied on the quarterly figures for planning their courses, Mr Herbert said.

b.preiss@theage.com.au

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