Category Archives: Education

TREVOR COBBOLD. New Figures Show Huge Funding Increases for Private Schools & Cuts to Public Schools

New figures show that government (Commonwealth and State) funding increases massively favoured private schools over public schools between 2009-10 and 2017-18.

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TREVOR COBBOLD. Disadvantaged Schools in Australia Are Far Less Resourced than Advantaged Schools

Data from the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2018 show that Australia allocates more and better quality teacher and physical resources to high socio-economic status (SES) secondary schools than to low SES schools. The gaps are amongst … Continue reading

Posted in Education | 2 Comments

TOM GREENWELL. Less choice, less affordability: the private school subsidy paradox

It’s become an annual ritual: the media reports on private school fee rises, then the various school spokespeople dig out last year’s talking points and it’s on again…until next year. But there is more – and it goes back a … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Politics | 8 Comments

TREVOR COBBOLD. OECD Says 3 in 4 Australian Students Do Not Try on PISA Tests

The hand-wringing over the continuing decline in Australia’s PISA results misses the issue of whether students try their best on the tests. The OECD’s report on PISA 2018 shows that about three in four Australian students and two-thirds of students … Continue reading

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CHRIS BONNOR. School fixes and fantasy

Two weeks ago I commented on the forthcoming Education Council of Ministers meeting and how it was apparently going to tackle our latest reported dive in student achievement. I declared that the chance of an enduring solution emerging from that … Continue reading

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ABUL RIZVI: Re-emergence of Dodgy VET Colleges

Since January 2018, the Australian Skills Quality Agency (ASQA) has cancelled the registration of around 450 private VET colleges. This is after years of such cancellations being relatively rare. A spokesperson for ASQA has said this reflects an improved “ability … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Education, Refugees, Immigration | 3 Comments

CHRIS BONNOR. PISA – the never-ending story

It’s PISA time again and Australia’s student achievement levels continue to be miserable. The finger-pointing is in full swing…again. Someone should re-shoot ‘Groundhog Day’ around the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), with a cast of education ministers, their shadows, … Continue reading

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ROGER SCOTT. The marketing of Australian universities

There seems to have been a long period of quiescence in higher education, with the interests of the top end of the university sector (identified as the G8) coinciding with the desire of successive governments to shift costs away from … Continue reading

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CHRIS BONNOR. Britain’s private schools in the firing line

It seems that there is more to UK politics than Brexit: Britain’s Labour conference has passed a motion to effectively abolish private schools and redistribute their students and even their properties to the state sector. Are there implications of such … Continue reading

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HAIQING YU. Chinese students in Australia and our responsibility

The discourse on China’s influence in Australia has recently shifted its focus to Chinese students on Australian university campuses. They are seen as pro-Chinese Communist Party nationalists who sing the Chinese national anthem and shout profane abuse at pro-Hong Kong-protest … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Education | 3 Comments

JOHN MENADUE. From little things, big things grow, but problems can arise.

In 1984 the number of international students in Australian was minimal and I found Australian University Vice Chancellors very sceptical about encouraging international students to study in Australia .They feared the displacement of Australian students. But in the Department of … Continue reading

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LYNDSAY CONNORS. Slogans like “those who have a go get a go” are no substitute for rational, coherent policy.

The status of Jean Blackburnas one of the finest contributors to Australia’s education policy is confirmed by the recently released biography by Craig Campbell and Debra Hayes covering her life and work. Above all, Jean Blackburn understood the interrelationship between … Continue reading

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CHRIS BONNOR. Rich school, poor school

This week the ABC kicked open the door to an overdue debate about school funding – a debate claimed to have been settled by Malcolm Turnbull two years ago. In a stunning interactive report on its website, Inga Ting and … Continue reading

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TREVOR COBBOLD. Skulduggery by the Morrison & Andrews Governments Robs Victorian Public Schools of Billions

Skulduggery between the Morrison and Victorian Labor Government will defraud Victorian public schools of about $17 billion over ten years to 2028. The new funding agreement between the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments signed last month will mean that public schools … Continue reading

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TREVOR COBBOLD. The Facts About School Funding in NSW

The reputation of the NSW Government for fully implementing the Gonski funding model is totally unwarranted. The NSW Government took the opportunity of increased Commonwealth funding for public schools during 2013-2017 to cut its own inflation adjusted funding of public … Continue reading

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TREVOR COBBOLD . The Facts About School Funding in Australia

Australia has an inequitable school funding system that continues to discriminate against public schools and disadvantaged students. Government funding has been badly mis-directed over many years with massive increases for the more privileged, better-off school sectors and students and far … Continue reading

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TREVOR COBBOLD. Money Really Does Matter in Education

Three new US studies have found that increasing funding for disadvantaged students increases school results. They bring to 21 the number of studies in the last five years showing that funding increases targeted at disadvantaged students improves achievement. This is … Continue reading

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CHRIS BONNOR Selective schools … again

Making stupid policy on the run is hardly new, but Gladys Berejiklian’sdecision to establish a new selective school in Sydney’s south-west has set new precedents. Few people seem to support it, even fewer will benefit. It ignores the debate about … Continue reading

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TANYA PLIBERSEK. Education in an election year

As we approach the election, I’m thinking carefully about how a Shorten Labor Government will be remembered for our reform of education. It feels like every week, I meet someone in their 60s or 70s who reminds me about how … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Politics | 2 Comments

CHRIS BONNOR The education election: it’s the same old song

A couple of weeks ago I wrote that school education was taking a back seat in the election campaign. With just a few days to go not much has changed: the various protagonists are making more noise, while managing to … Continue reading

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ROSS GITTINS. Universities: both sides should clean up the mess they’ve made

Among the many issues needing early attention from the winner of the federal election is universities. Trouble is, neither side seems to have much idea of how to fix the mess both parties spent decades creating, before Julia Gillard brought … Continue reading

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FRANCESCA BEDDIE. Vocational education in an election climate: it’s time to be bold

The Labor Party is being bold, putting reformist policies before the voter. It has proposed a comprehensive inquiry into post-secondary education. If it gets to undertake that inquiry, I hope it will keep being bold and be prepared to restructure … Continue reading

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CHRIS BONNOR. An election without education?

Commentators often express dismay that debates about policy go missing in action at election time. This time around, the vacuous reigns supreme as the election degenerates into a policy parody – despite longer term policy work by the ALP and … Continue reading

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BOB BIRRELL. Overseas Students. A labour market program?

As readers of Pearls and Irritations will be aware, Net Overseas Migration to Australia (NOM) in 2017-18 was 236,731. This is equivalent to 0.9 per cent of Australia’s population. NOM was the main source of Australia’s overall 1.6 per cent … Continue reading

Posted in Education, International Affairs | 1 Comment

ELAINE PEARSON. China’s Efforts to Curb Australia’s Academic Freedom: What Universities Can Do.

There’s been a vigorous debate of late in Australia about the extent of Chinese government interference in domestic politics. Less has been said about what occurs on our university campuses. Pressure from the Chinese government comes in numerous ways, including … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Education, International Affairs | 2 Comments

DON AND PATRICIA EDGAR. Universities as Failed Critics

Back in 1997, Mark Davis complained that the Baby Boomers were monopolising public comment and should make way for the next generation – meaning him – to lead us out of ‘Gangland’ to ‘a new generationalism’. We’ve heard little since … Continue reading

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TONY SMITH. Disability and disenfranchisement: the social construction of political disadvantage

Thanks to the determination of disability advocates such as Senator Steele-John, national attention is being drawn to ways in which society fails people with ‘disabilities’. Indeed, in our general disregard for the needs of Australians of different abilities, we exclude … Continue reading

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TREVOR COBBOLD. Funding Increases for Private Schools Continue to Outstrip Increases for Public Schools

New funding figures show that government funding increases for private schools continue to far outstrip increases for public schools. Government funding per student in public schools (adjusted for inflation) was cut between 2009-10 and 2016-17 while private schools received a … Continue reading

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TREVOR COBBOLD. Govt Concealing Catholic Schools’ Use of Taxpayer Funds

Public accountability for the use of taxpayer funding is a fundamental tenet of democratic government. Yet, this principle has long been ignored by Catholic education authorities who refuse to reveal how they distribute government funding amongst their schools despite it … Continue reading

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TREVOR COBBOLD. Education Department Slammed for Failure to Monitor How School Systems Distribute Taxpayer Funding

The Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit of the Parliament has slammed the Commonwealth Department of Education for failing to ensure that government funding of public and private school systems is distributed according to needs-based principles.

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