Graduate Diploma in Childbirth Education

Graduate Diploma in Childbirth EducationThe Graduate Diploma in Childbirth Education was the first accredited course in the world designed for those teaching childbirth and parenting education programs. It evolved from a number of courses that Andrea Robertson had been offering, beginning with the Basic Skills Training Course developed for Parents Centres Australia in 1977 (this organisation was dissolved in the late 1980s).

In 1984, with the establishment of Associates in Childbirth Education (ACE) as an independent consultancy, the Basic Skills Course continued to be offered as a part time distance learning education package. The program was popular with hospital based educators and those working independently, and people from all over Australia, as well as New Zealand, gained their educational skills with ACE.

In 1987, the NSW Obstetric Review considered the quality and scope of prenatal education in that State and made a number of recommendations. These were swiftly incorporated into the existing course, which was recognised as being the best on offer at that time. Associates in Childbirth Education also changed its name to Birth International that year, as a natural development for the expanding company.

In 1992, with the development of the Australian National Training Authority and a State administered system for Vocational Training and Education (VETAB), Birth International decided to have this course accredited as a Graduate Diploma. This qualification was chosen as it best fit the aims and functions of the Course, which built on existing skills (such as an undergraduate course in midwifery or equivalent) and enabled students to gain appropriate vocational training. The Course was first accredited in 1993, then reaccredited for a further 5 years in both 1998 and 2003.

In 2004, due to falling enrolments and increasing costs for administration (and the resultant fee increases) it was decided to suspend the course, and it was officially deregistered with VETAB in December 2006.

Alternative, shorter courses are now offered, together with teaching materials (The Essential Educator Kit) that enable quality education to be delivered by those without extensive training.

There were many Graduates of this Course, including students from the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Thailand and Malaysia. These are the most highly qualified people in this specialised field in the world, and their qualifications are recognised by Universities when they apply for higher degrees such as a Masters Degree. A number have gone on to further studies, and they can be found working in hospital settings, in independent practice and for community organisations.