The programs are designed to meet the educational needs of students whose circumstances prevent them from accessing courses at regular schools. While many students are travelling, ill or find regular schooling difficult, many others use the DECV's services to enrol in one or two subjects that they cannot access in their regular school.
Course materials can be delivered via the web or by a combination of quality print-based, audio and visual learning materials.
The teaching and learning program is carried out by individual teachers, and regular and ongoing contact between teacher and student is encouraged and expected.
In many cases, eligibility criteria must be met by students wishing to enrol for courses at the DECV. Different criteria may be applied at different subschool levels.