In May 2015 the Department of Education and Training (the department) initiated formal reviews into six non-government school authorities associated with the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC) to ensure that each authority is meeting the requirements of the Australian Education Act 2013 (the Act).
The Act requires, amongst other obligations, that all school authorities operate not-for-profit, be a ‘fit and proper person’ and ensure that funding provided is used only for school education.
The Department has concluded the reviews and has notified each school authority that it is not currently complying with governance, financial and accountability requirements of the Act. All school authorities in Australia are required to meet these requirements in order to receive Commonwealth funding and the department actively monitors compliance with these requirements.
The department has issued a formal notice to each of the six school authorities identifying where they are not complying with requirements of the Act and the potential consequences if improvements are not made. This could include revoking approval under the Act, which would result in the school authority no longer receiving Commonwealth funding.
At this stage the department has not imposed a compliance sanction on any of the six school authorities.
A formal process is now in progress and each school authority has 28 days to submit a response to the department, before a final decision is made. The Submissions are an opportunity for the school authorities to propose alternative courses of action to address the department’s concerns.
The requirements of the Act protect the public and private investments made by taxpayers and parents in school education, and ensure stable and effective governance and management as essential qualities for delivering better learning outcomes for students.
The department’s reviews focused on governance and financial management and not curriculum, pedagogy and other matters that are primary the responsibilities of state and territory education authorities.
The six schools impacted by this process are the Islamic College of Brisbane (QLD), the Islamic College of Melbourne (VIC), the Islamic College of South Australia (SA), the Islamic School of Canberra (ACT), Langford Islamic College (WA) and Malek Fahd Islamic School (NSW).