|Description of this FunctionDescription of this Function|
Adult education relates to the provision of any type of education delivered to adults through course providers registered as Adult Community Education (ACE) organisations. ACE organisations receive funding and accreditation through the Adult, Community and Further Education Board (ACFEB; VA 4280). Types of ACE organisations include agencies such as the CAE (VA 1195), some Universities and TAFEs and community organisations such as neighbourhood houses, community centres or learning centres.
The provision of adult education began with the Workers' Education Association and other related informal adult education providers, such as the University Extension program. The CAE (then Council for Adult Education) was established in 1946 with the purpose of delivering education to adults in the community. At its establishment, the CAE was primarily concerned with cultural and general education in metropolitan and rural areas. However, the CAE soon introduced specialist classes, including programs for the handicapped and education for prison inmates. During the 1960s, the CAE began running classes which were semi-vocational in nature, and in 1969, began conducting HSC classes. In 1974, programs in basic education and adult literacy were run for the first time.
Another important provider of adult education is AMES (Adult Multicultural Education Services) which was established in 1951 as Adult Migrant English Services. It provides services, education and training to immigrants and people of non-English speaking backgrounds, including English language classes, employment skills classes, settlement services and translation services.
In 1991, the Adult, Community and Further Education Act 1991 (Act No. 91/1991) established an Adult, Community and Further Education Board (VA 4280) which became responsible for allocating Government funding to all Adult Education Institutions. Additionally, the Act prescribed the establishment of Regional Boards to allow administration and maintenance of all accredited adult education organisations within a particular area.
Adult education includes the provision of both accredited and non-accredited courses. Accredited courses are those such as the teaching of VCE to adults or preparatory courses for entry into University or TAFE. Non-accredited courses include short courses taken for pleasure or to improve a particular skill, such as English as a Second Language (ESL) or IT classes.