Decision upheld: no funding for Islamic School

Federal education minister, Simon Birmingham has announced that the internal review of funding eligibility for the Islamic School of Canberra has upheld the decision to withdraw funding.

“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 statement read.

The department indicated that 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 statement continued.

 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,” said Mr Birmingham.

He said the formal review into the financial management and governance arrangements of the Islamic School of Canberra began 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 minister indicated that the internal reviewer was new to the matter, and had “considered all previous information provided by the authority and new information provided during the internal review process”. The decision stands to revoke funding.

He said, “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”.

He warned that all 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.

He said, “Australians rightly expect that every taxpayer dollar committed to school education is genuinely expended on school education”.

Suzy Barry

Suzy Barry is a freelance education writer and the former editor of School News, Australia.

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