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Catholic schools lose in Vic Govt learning program

Victorian Catholic colleges introducing a new Year 12 certificate next year are being short-changed compared with their government school counterparts.

The Catholic schools will each receive just $16,000 of State Government funding to start the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning program, seen as an alternative to the VCE. But each government school will get more than $40,000.

VCAL is a new senior school certificate based on vocational or hands-on learning, aimed at students not suited to VCE and unlikely to pursue tertiary education. Some 20 schools, including five Catholic colleges, ran a VCAL pilot program this year.

In 2003, VCAL will go statewide with as many as 6000 students expected to enrol for the certificate at more than 180 government and 31 Catholic schools.

Catholic Education Office acting director Peter Annett said he was disappointed at the 2003 funding arrangements because all schools had been treated equally in the trial.

"We do think it's important Catholic schools take part in these alternative educational pathways."

Opposition education spokesman Phil Honeywood said the State Government had persuaded Catholic schools to join the pilot program as equal partners.

"It is unfair that having locked Catholic schools and young people into this program, the Government now chooses to treat them as second-class citizens," he said. "Why should any young person attending their local Catholic parish school be funded only one-third of the level of a government school student doing the same course?"

Melissa Arch, spokeswoman for Education and Training Minister Lynne Kosky, said that at the time of the funds allocation, the Catholic Education Office indicated it was pleased with the level of funding.


Catholic Education Office (Melbourne)
Department of Education and Training Victoria | New education certificate to go statewide (Media Release)

12 Nov 2002