Government cuts funding to International Child Care College at Broadmeadow

admin | 杭州桑拿
4 Dec 2018

UNDER PRESSURE: ICCC’s Karen Kearns and Kael Cooper. Picture: Max Mason-HubersKAREN Kearns is a highly qualified childcare specialist whose textbooks are standards in their field.

Her International Child Care College at Broadmeadow has operated for 15 years and has more than 300 students on its books.

But under the state government’s new ‘‘Smart and Skilled’’ vocational training system, the Broadmeadow college has been cut from a list of subsidised education providers.

Ms Kearns said the government had cut the number of private providers from more than 700 to about 320, meaning a number of businesses in the Hunter and elsewhere would go to the wall.

‘‘The subsidies of $3000 for every ‘certificate three’ student and $6000 for diploma students work out at about $1million a year,’’ Ms Kearns said.

She said the subsidies covered the bulk of the course costs, meaning training providers that did not attract subsidies would find it hard to survive.

‘‘The impact is not only on us, it will be on the region, on the childcare centres and the public,’’ Ms Kearns said.

Various Hunter childcare centre operators met at Warners Bay on Wednesday night to plan a response. More than a dozen centres wrote to the government in support of the college.

Lake Macquarie MP Greg Piper spoke in support of the college in State Parliament on Wednesday night, saying its problems were probably the tip of an iceberg.

Mr Piper called on Education Minister Adrian Piccoli to urgently review the college’s exclusion and to ‘‘address the deficiencies in the accreditation process for Smart and Skilled’’.

‘‘You have to ask how an established training organisation with such an excellent record of achievement and compliance could be so readily overlooked for accreditation under the new system,’’ he told Parliament.

Mr Piper said the government chose which training organisations were funded ‘‘on the basis of answers provided on an online questionnaire’’.

‘‘No supporting documentation was required to validate the information provided, no inspection of college premises was made and no consultation was undertaken with the college or any of its clients,’’ Mr Piper said.

The Department of Education and Communities said early childhood training would still be available in the Hunter.

It defended the selection process, saying ‘‘robust governance arrangements’’ were in place, including ‘‘external probity advice’’.

‘‘The process was highly competitive.’’

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