Media release: Victorian Government recognises the essential role of adult and community education

Adult Learning Australia, the national peak body for adult community education (ACE), welcomes the Victorian Government’s commitment to ACE through a Ministerial Statement that acknowledges its transformative power and unique strengths.

In launching the Ministerial Statement on the Future of Adult Community Education today Victoria’s Minister for Training, Skills and Higher Education, Gayle Tierney acknowledged the essential role of ACE in developing core foundation skills for work, further study and in enabling people to participate in society as valued citizens[1]. The Statement outlines an ambitious plan for building the capacity and recognition of the sector as the third pillar of post-secondary education alongside TAFE and universities.

‘This is a major step for adult and community education, and we have been so pleased to be part of the process,’ says Jenny Macaffer, CEO of Adult Learning Australia. ‘It is great to see government policy that focusses on the critical role of ACE in reducing barriers to education and training, and in promoting a culture of lifelong learning’, says Jenny Macaffer, CEO.

‘However, we need action at a federal level so we are calling on the Morrison Government to renew the Ministerial Declaration on ACE as part of a national lifelong learning strategy. The last Declaration was expressed in 2008 and a renewed commitment is now long overdue,’ said Ms Macaffer.

‘Australians most in need are deprived of opportunities to re-engage in education, entrenching disadvantage and making them vulnerable to unemployment and social isolation. ACE can play a pivotal role in helping adult Australians access the skills they need for work and life,’ Jenny Macaffer, CEO says.

A renewed national Ministerial Declaration would recognise ACE as a significant contributor in both accredited VET and non-accredited education that fosters the skills people need to engage and participate fully in their communities and the economy.

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[1] The Future of Adult Community Education in Victoria 2020–25 Ministerial Statement