A review into the Victorian College of the Deaf (VCD) has been welcomed by disability advocates and the college itself.
The Victorian Minister of Education, Hon James Merlino has called for the sweeping review of the state’s oldest deaf school following comments from the student’s parents.
He says the recent concerns raised by parents are serious and require further investigation.
“Every single student, no matter their circumstance, has a right to a great education and it is incumbent on Government to make sure that is happening.”
“It is for that reason I have requested the Department of Education and Training to conduct a review into the college and look at professional practice and ways of improving outcomes for these students,” he says.
Mr Merlino says the review will take into account feedback from the school’s community.
“Students who are deaf or hard of hearing have the right to every educational opportunity non-deaf students have and we will make sure that is the case.”
Chairperson of Deaf Australia Todd Wright, says inadequate education seriously limits the career opportunities of students with hearing impairments.
“The fact that Victoria College of the Deaf has discouraged deaf students from participating Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) is abhorrent and unacceptable and this highlights the inability of its leadership to ensure successful outcomes for deaf students.”
The VCE is a certificate most students in Victoria receive upon completion of their secondary education, allowing further study or training at TAFE or university.
The last review of Victoria’s deaf education was over 10 years ago, with Australia’s deaf education being compromised by a lack of quality teachers, resources, interpreters and curricula over the years.
Chief Executive of Deaf Australia Kyle Miers highlights the lack of resources, quality teachers and appropriate support for deaf children and says Government policy must be strongly enforced to rectify this.
“A failure to do so amounts to negligence and must be held accountable,” he says.
A Deaf Australia spokesperson says a lack of appropriate government oversight has allowed discriminatory practices at VCD to remain unchecked.
Victorian College of the Deaf Principal Angelique Den Brinker welcomes the review and says it’s an opportunity to address concerns raised by the school community.
“We work extremely hard to give our students the best education we can and we’re always willing to improve.”
The details of the review are under consideration.
For more information on disability support and services, please visit DisabilitySupportGuide.com.au.