Posted on 08. Feb, 2013 in News

Community Learning centres have been left without registration, leaving teachers without work and students without courses due to bureaucratic bungling by the Baillieu Government, Shadow Minister for the Teaching Profession Steve Herbert said today.

Mr Herbert said learning centres were struggling to fulfil their requirements because the company that now handles the accreditation process has delayed this year’s renewals.

The registration process was formerly a function of the department, but was outsourced by the Baillieu Government.

“The process that Higher Education Minister Peter Hall has imposed on these non-for-profit learning centres has been a complete disaster,” Mr Herbert said.

“Local centres have been hit with bureaucratic bungling that is worthy of an episode of ‘Yes Minister’, but it is no laughing matter as many centres have been forced to delay this year’s schedule of classes.

“This comes at the same time those fees for these centres are skyrocketing – in many cases some three or four times last years fee.

“The registration debacle and crippling fee rises are more evidence of Mr Hall’s complete inability to manage the training sector in Victoria. As a result Victoria’s learning centres have found themselves in limbo, with the uncertainty also being felt by teachers and staff.

“Despite the fact that classes were already meant to have begun for the year, Learning Centres have been forced to lock their doors and send home thousand of students.”

Mr Herbert said up to one third of the state’s neighbourhood houses and other adult and community learning centres were still waiting for their service agreement applications to be approved for this year.

“Under this farcical new process, learning centres were notified during the Christmas break when staff were not available,” he said.

“Centres have informed me there are only three departmental staff allocated to process over 500 applications.

“Mr Hall needs to admit that outsourcing the registration renewal process to an interstate company has been an expensive mistake, while the same time the department is chronically under-resourced.

“Mr Hall must address this situation which is having a major impact on hundreds of learning centres, their hard-working and committed staff and students across the state.

“If Mr Hall doesn’t remedy his mistakes, the debacle could threaten the very viability of the Victorian training system.”

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