Community Colleges Australia (CCA) has outlined the educational equity goals of its members at a “Go8” Social Policy Roundtable on 30 April 2018. The Roundtable – a partnership with the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) – is underpinned by a “shared values base arising from a joint commitment to a fair, inclusive and sustainable Australia in which all individuals and communities have access to, and can benefit from, social and economic participation.”
CCA was one of almost 30 organisations that contributed to the Social Policy Roundtable, which was hosted by UNSW Sydney’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Ian Jacobs (see photo below), and co-chaired by Go8 Chief Executive Vicki Thomson (photo below) and ACOSS CEO, Dr Cassandra Goldie (photo below).
CCA CEO Dr Don Perlgut spoke about how effective Australia’s community education providers are in engaging disadvantaged students, including those living in rural and regional locations, people with disabilities, Indigenous learners and people from low socio-economic backgrounds.
Dr Perlgut outlined CCA’s major educational equity objectives for 2018/19:
- consolidating and furthering work in regional and rural VET provision;
- engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and communities, elaborating on the existing models of how community education providers work with Indigenous learners and communities;
- developing programs for regional economic development in Western Sydney; and
- develop a pilot program on engaging disadvantaged older workers who require retraining.
Dr Perlgut also spoke of the importance of expanding the credit transfer arrangements between community education providers and public TAFE VET providers with Australian universities, an important means to ensure that disadvantaged students can access university without having to obtain high ATARs first.
“Australian universities also have an important role as collaborators and partners in community and economic development projects in disadvantaged and regional areas,” said Dr Perlgut.
Australia’s “Group of 8” leading universities consist of Monash University, Australian National University, University of Adelaide, University of Melbourne, University of Queensland, University of Sydney, University of Western Australia and UNSW Sydney.