Ministerial Statement on the Future of Adult Community Education in Victoria 2020-2025
ACAL welcomes the commitment to adult literacy and numeracy from the Victorian government in the Adult Community Education sector in the form a new reform agenda. Responding to PIAAC data that estimated Victoria has 650,000 adults at the lowest levels of literacy, the Further Opportunities for Adult Learners (FOAL) project was conducted in 2018.
This project informed the need for a Ministerial Statement that would support the sector to ensure all Victorians, particularly those at risk, had access to further training, securing meaningful employment, and to full economic and social participation in their lives.
The Minister for Training and Skills and Minister for Higher Education, the Hon Gayle Tierney, released the Ministerial Statement outlining a six-year reform agenda for adult community education in Victoria in November 2019. The Adult, Community and Further Education (ACFE) Board leads adult community and further education in Victoria and its strategy establishes a blueprint for the Board and the Learn Local sector for the six years from 2020 to 2025. The mission of the ACFE Board is to lead literacy, numeracy, English language, employability and digital skills education and training for adult learners in Victoria.
Adult community education plays an integral role in Victoria’s broader education sector and we applaud the inclusion of literacy in the broader context of education and life, as well as employment.
ACFE is currently rolling out one of its first programs under this initiative, the Adult Literacy and Numeracy Practitioner Program led by Adult Learning Australia (ALA) and ACEVic. This program is designed to build the capability of experienced adult educators delivering pre-accredited literacy and numeracy programs in adult and community education settings.
It is also very encouraging that a literacy expert and advocate, Sally Thompson, a former VALBEC president and CEO of ALA, is now working for the Victorian Department of Education managing the team leading this initiative. We look forward to seeing the further programs and opportunities this reform provides to the sector and in particular to those Victorians wanting to improve their unmet literacy and other skill needs.
Meg Cotter, ACAL Vice-President