Apr. 15th, 2013

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I wasn't really paying attention to the news on the weekend, so I'm only just reading up on this.

Labor has announced a $2.8 billion cut to tertiary education in order to pay for the Gonksi report recommendations for primary and secondary education.

The cuts are:
  • $1.2 billion - students will have to repay Student Start up Scholarships
  • $900 million - 2% efficiency dividend
  • $500 million - capping self-education tax deductions at $2000
  • $230 million - abolishing the 10% discount for paying HECs up front
  •  
Total savings: $2.8 billion


So what is the Gonski report?

The report's aim was to decrease the growing performance gap between our best and our worst schools. Which in effect means the gap between independent and government schools.

It's recommendation was to introduce a Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) made up of a base amount of funding per student for primary and secondary student, and then adding a loading on top of that based on special needs.

The Government has a website explaining it here: http://www.schoolfunding.gov.au/what-does-new-funding-model-look

Unsurprisingly, Catholic and independent schools aren't happy. They'll still get funding, but their SRS will be reduced depending on how much the parents can afford to pay.

There's a good article on The Conversation on why this is necessary if the gap in education results is to be tackled.

My initial thoughts are:
  1. The aims of the Gonski reports are laudable
  2. The money has to come from somewhere, but
  3. But it seems counterproductive to improve secondary education at the cost of tertiary education
But maybe I'm wrong on that point. Maybe reducing the performance gap in secondary schools would mean more, or at least a wider range of, students would have access to tertiary education.

Or maybe it's a false dichotomy to play tertiary education off against secondary education, and there are other ways to fund the Gonski recommendations.

Thoughts?

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