Earlier today, my department informed the authority that manages the Islamic School of Canberra that the outcome of the internal review they requested has upheld the original decision to revoke the authority’s approval under the Australian Education Act 2013.
The original decision detailed the department’s concerns about the authority’s governance and financial management arrangements.
The department has accommodated repeated requests for deadline extensions but the School’s authority has failed to address its non-compliance issues to meet the basic requirements of the Education Act.
The decision means from 16 December 2017, the authority will no longer receive Australian Government funding. The school can continue to operate as long as it remains registered by the ACT Government and is financially viable.
I urge the School’s authorities to outline its future plans to give certainty to its students and families.
My department first commenced a formal review into the financial management and governance arrangements of the Islamic School of Canberra in May 2015, alongside five other schools affiliated with the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC).
After carefully considering the responses received from the authority responsible for the management of the Islamic School of Canberra, my department had to make the difficult decision to revoke the funding approval for the authority. The School’s authority requested an internal review of the decision made to revoke funding for the school.
The Internal Reviewer was a senior officer in my department who was independent of the original decision. The Reviewer considered all previous information provided by the authority and new information provided during the internal review process.
All school authorities must meet the requirements of the Education Act to receive funding from the Australian Government. School governance should be of the highest standard and funding should be exclusively used for the education and welfare of students.
Approved authorities have a responsibility to familiarise themselves with the requirements that need to be met in order to receive Australian Government funding under the Education Act. The authorities are responsible for ensuring that these are being met and schools are not put in a situation like what we have seen with the Islamic School of Canberra.
Australians rightly expect that every taxpayer dollar committed to school education is genuinely expended on school education.