Created on Wednesday, 13 June 2012 11:00 Written by AEU
The Australian Education Union will call for urgent action on the Gonski Review at the economic forum in Brisbane tomorrow saying it provides the single best way to improve the prosperity of the nation and the fortunes of our children.
AEU Federal President Angelo Gavrielatos said the Gonski Review had made it clear that there would be severe economic and social consequences if widening achievement gaps in education were not closed and our overall performance in education did not improve.
“There is overwhelming evidence that the number of years students spend in school and the quality of education they receive has a profound effect on a country’s economic growth, prosperity and the well-being of its citizens,” he said.
“As KPMG Econtech estimated, increasing the Year 12 attainment rate to 90 per cent alone would generate an increase in GDP worth $11.8 billion (2008-09 dollars) annually to the economy.
“Australia is currently spending far too little on school education, committing only 3 per cent of GDP compared to an OECD average of 3.5 per cent.
“The Federal Government needs to commit to the additional $5 billion a year funding identified as urgently required by Gonski and lay down a timetable for the passage of legislation this year.
“The economic forum represents a perfect opportunity to commit to implementing the recommendations of the Gonski Review and delivering the overhaul of the way schools are resourced would make such a profound difference.
Mr Gavrielatos said the union would also raise the importance of turning around the declining investment in TAFE.
“High quality skills training is incredibly important at a time when we have a rapidly growing economy and significant skills shortages in sectors such as mining,” he said.
“If we are to deliver the training required there must be high quality, well resourced TAFEs across the country and yet recurrent funding per hour of training has dropped by over 15 per cent between 2004 and 2009.”