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a world class education for all? « Previous | |Next »
January 25, 2008

If an education revolution is to be more than election headlines presupposes a link between education and the labour market. The education bit minimally means computers and trades in schools whilst the IR bit is rolling back workchoices. The link, presumably, is more skilled workers who will help ease the inflationary pressures arising from workforce shortages.

Do the key problems of education readily link in with the Government's IR agenda? Aren't most of the problems---whether at preschool, primary or secondary level, at private or public level, or at university or tertiary vocational level---about resources and how they are to be allocated? Doesn't this involve problems of federalism, particularly between needs for more uniformity and national standards on the one hand, and needs for greater autonomy, individual choice and adaptation to local demand on the other?

Nelson.jpg Bill Leak

Yet the ALP continues the Howard Government's funding of private schools that doesn't take into account the resources for the schools and the inequality of opportunity in the name of certainty. The ALP is going to build a world class education and quality school for everyone. That's a big investment ---a 2005 report by a ministerial council on education concluded that government (public) schools needed an extra $2.4 billion to meet minimum national resourcing standards. Will that happen with a razor gang in full flight with a brief to cut back spending and ensure greater efficiency?

As Jack Waterford observes in the Canberra Times that Gillard cannot:

be comfortable that the reforms and the reinvestment, education needs can be safely deferred until a second Swan budget, after the immediate pressure on government spending is alleviated. No one (especially Defence) should be immune from close expenditure review committee scrutiny, but the focus should not be only on costs and the bottom line, but on priorities, political and administrative effectiveness and better outcomes for the public. One has only to read old Labor press statements to know how acute some of the needs are, and how mere marking time will not be enough.

A lot of those refer to the need to a greater investment in universities to make up for the declining public investment during the Howard regime.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:39 AM | | Comments (4)


Happy Australia Day to all. Have a great weekend.

What Les said.

Some of the problems in education could be fixed by making better use of the resources already available. In senior maths for example kids are taught with an eye towards test scores rather than skills useful beyond school. Although I guess that would still involve expenditure getting a new curriculum up and running.

I notice the defense budget stays intact.

Thanks Les.Same to you.

Lyn One of my biggest disappointments with Rudd Labor on education is the way it has retained the Coalition's flawed funding model until 2012; a model that allocates money to schools on the basis of the socioeconomic status where students live and not on need.

The drift of students to private schools creates increased costs for government schools because the latter are taking a greater share of students with more educational challenges and more costly to educate. So the two tier educational system becomes ever more entrenched.

This looks to be an ALP that is very timid on reforms to help give disadvantaged kids a leg up.

Nan, It seems to me that the public/private and postcode by postcode models both approach education through an economic lens rather than an education one. If you were serious about a better educated population, surely you'd work out a few goals then do what you can realistically do to reach them?

Wouldn't you ask education people for advice before you brought in the bean counters? Wouldn't you put aside the new user-pays political correctness for a minute?

So far I share your disappointment. Despite the election rhetoric they're keeping the framework that guarantees everything will stay pretty much the same as it is now.