I want to assure everyone that adult and community education is here to stay.

The Government is investing $124 million over the next four years into ACE.

We know these classes are an important stepping stone for learners.  However, because of the tough economic conditions, we are refocusing funding for ACE on key areas like literacy and numeracy.

When people lose their jobs, or look to up-skill, it’s important they have the basic foundation skills they need to help them learn, such as reading, writing, and maths. Ensuring people have these skills is high priority.

The choice to refocus ACE towards literacy and numeracy hasn’t been made lightly.  We have had to make tough but necessary decisions to prioritise our education spending into areas where it gets the best results.

We have also had to balance spending priorities against unfunded promises over more than $500 million made by the previous Labour government.

Exactly what courses will be funded, and how, will be decided by the Tertiary Education Commission.

Schools that offer ACE can still provide the broad range of classes they always have – but people who choose to study a hobby, or a personal interest course, will need to meet the full cost of this.

Our decisions regarding ACE have been made because of the tough economic conditions the country is facing.