Victorian Government launches Ministerial Statement on the Future of Adult Community Education

The Victorian Government has launched a Ministerial Statement on the Future of Adult Community Education in Victoria 2020-25, the first such comprehensive statement in Australia in many years.

The launch, by the Minister for Training and Skills and Minister for Higher Education, Gayle Tierney, marks a long process of consultation and discussion with the state’s not-for-profit community education sector.  (Download the full Statement here – PDF.)

“Through adult community education, people gain the confidence to overcome isolation, create meaningful connections with others and feel valued for their contributions in their communities,” Minister Tierney said at the launch.

In attendance were more than 120 key stakeholders (see photo below) – Learn Local providers, MPs, other sector providers such as TAFE and ACE peak organisations, including Community Colleges Australia (CCA, represented by its CEO, Dr Don Perlgut, see below), Neighbourhood Houses Victoria, ACE Victoria and Adult Learning Australia.

Adult community education plays an integral role in Victoria’s broader education sector. Victoria leads Australia – with more providers and more state government funding – in providing accessible and tailored lifelong learning opportunities for adult learners seeking to develop the skills they need for work, further study, and to participate fully in the Victorian community.

“This Ministerial Statement aims to fulfil the Victorian Government’s commitment to uniting the adult community education sector with a focus on learners, and to build recognition of the distinct and invaluable role the sector plays,” the Education Department website reads.

“The Statement is ground-breaking, and a model for what other governments – both other states and the Commonwealth – need to do. The Ministerial Statement clearly says what the State Government plans to do to support ACE in Victoria, how it will do it, and what results are expected,” said Dr Don Perlgut, CCA’s CEO.

“Australia’s not-for-profit community education sector over-delivers in reaching all vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, delivering skills training to those who need it most. Victoria now has a clear roadmap to ensure that the community sector’s capacity is utilised. This is a ground-breaking commitment by the State Government,” said Dr Perlgut.

The Statement establishes a reform agenda for the six years 2020 to 2025, focusing the Adult, Community and Further Education (ACFE) Board and the adult community education sector on adult literacy, numeracy, employability and digital skills training.

The Statement also identifies a strengthened role for the sector in supporting students to enter and successfully complete TAFE and university courses; and in upskilling and reskilling low-skilled workers who may be vulnerable to becoming unemployed as work changes.

“Notably, the Statement also includes as one of the three ‘core roles’ that adult community education is to participate in society as valued citizens. CCA believes that our sector’s contributions to the development and success of Australian civil society is one of our great achievements,” said Dr Perlgut.

The Ministerial Statement on the Future of Adult Community Education in Victoria 2020–25 is the first Victorian Government statement on adult community education since that made by the Hon Lynne Kosky as Minister for Education and Training in 2004.

(Image above – from left to right: Dr Don Perlgut, CCA; Jenny Macaffer, Adult Learning Australia; Minister Gayle Tierney; Nicole Battle, Neighbourhood Houses Victoria; and Tamsin Rossiter, ACE Victoria.)

(Image above: attendees at the Ministerial launch at Parliament House in Melbourne on 14 November.)

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