Three Islamic schools have won back federal funding as two others face imminent closure
Apr 14, 2016 | News | by The Learning Press staff
Three Islamic schools threatened with closure have won back their federal funding after making “substantial changes” to address management failures.
The Islamic College of Brisbane, Perth’s Langford Islamic College and the Islamic College of Melbourne have all been told they will continue to receive Government funding.
The decision follows the stripping of federal funds from Sydney’s Malek Fahd Islamic School and from the Islamic School of Canberra after both failed to convince the education minister that Government funds would be spent appropriately.
Six colleges across Australia were threatened with a loss of commonwealth funding following an audit last May which revealed governance and financial mismanagement and concerns about their independence from the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils.
The future of the Islamic College of South Australia is still in the balance, but education minister Simon Birmingham has acknowledged its school authority’s efforts to effect change and signalled a positive outcome if those changes are followed through.
The department will make a final decision on its funding over the next few weeks.
Senator Birmingham said the four authorities had “genuinely identified and committed to implementing substantial changes to their operations, including ensuring appropriate independence”.
“This decision follows improvements to governance and financial management within each school authority, which also delivers financial and operational independence from the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils,” he said.
“The continuing approval will be subject to additional conditions to ensure these improvements are sustained and built upon - but this does mark a significant day for the students, families and teachers of these schools.
“I trust this decision will provide comfort for students, parents and staff at these schools following recent months of uncertainty through no fault of their own.
Mr Birmingham affirmed his commitment to ensuring that all school authorities meet Education Act guidelines.
“School governance should be of the highest standard and funding should be exclusively used for the education and welfare of students.
“Australians rightly expect that every taxpayer dollar committed to school education is genuinely expended on school education.”
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