Seasons greetings from CCA – representing community education providers with a history going back more than 100 years

Community Colleges Australia (CCA) wishes all of its members, friends and supporters seasons greetings and best wishes for the new year 2020.

“It is a valuable time to remember the important role that Australian community education providers have played in adult education. Some of our members have served their communities since 1913, the year Australian Workers Education Associations (WEAs) were established. Sydney (WEA Sydney), Newcastle (WEA Hunter, now Atwea College), Wollongong (WEA Illawarra) and South Australia operate as part of a continuous history that extends back to almost 107 years,” said CCA CEO, Dr Don Perlgut.

The tradition of Australian adult and community education extends back to 1864 with NSW evening colleges, codified in 1880 with the NSW Public Instruction Act under then Premier Sir Henry Parkes. That Act established Evening Public Schools (PDF), “to instruct persons who may not have received the advantages of primary education”. Australian community education providers maintain this tradition with their emphasis on “foundation skills” – language, literacy, numeracy and employability skills.

"This century-plus unbroken history of Australian adult education makes these providers some of the country’s oldest adult and post-secondary education institutions, rivalling the 'sandstone' Universities of Sydney (founded 1850), Melbourne (1853), Adelaide (1874), Tasmania (1890), Queensland (1909) and Western Australia (1911)," said Dr Perlgut.

It’s not just the WEAs: other CCA members show many decades of continuous history. Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Community College was founded in 1925; Sydney Community Colleges dates to 1945; Northern Beaches and Mosman College dates to 1949; Macquarie Community College to 1950; City East College and Nepean Community College to 1952; ACE Colleges, Albury Wodonga Community College, ET Australia, St George Sutherland Community College and Western Riverina Community College to the 1970s; Tuggerah Lakes Community College, North Coast Community College and New England Community College all to 1981; Riverina Community College and Central Coast Community College to 1982; VERTO (originally Central West Community College) and Mid North Coast Community College to 1983; Tamworth Community College to 1984; Tomaree Community College to 1985; and The Parramatta College and Kiama Community College to 1986.

“CCA is proud represent such an historic sector of Australian education, with providers that have adapted to economic, social and educational changes over many years, and continue to serve their communities with distinction,” said Dr Perlgut.

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