Call to change college funding

An education leader says the State Government must change its funding policies for community colleges.

A NATIONAL education leader says the State Government must change its funding policies to cut burdens on community colleges.

Community Colleges Australia chief executive officer Kate Davidson said last week’s closure of Colac’s Otway Community College was a sad occasion.

Ms Davidson said two government policy changes since 2011 added to the Colac-based college’s financial struggles.

She said the first change was when the government decided to pay colleges after a course finished, instead of before.

“We would argue that there’s a case to be made for a portion of funding to be paid up-front,” she said.

Ms Davidson said the second change was a $300-million cut to TAFE funding in the government’s 2012 budget.

She said she understood Otway Community College would have no classes and stop its disability care services from today.

“However my understanding is that there are a number of other disability providers in Colac that we very much hope would be able to fill the gaps for the disability clients,” she said.

“In regards to the students who have been undertaking classes, my understanding is that the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development will be attempting to identify opportunities for those students to be able to finish those classes.”

Ms Davidson said community colleges across the state faced challenging times.

“We are doing our best and individual colleges are doing their best to embrace the changes,” she said.

“We are very sorry to lose a valuable member of our industry association and we’re very sorry that the residents of Colac will, in the short term, have no local learning provider.”

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