HSV Submissions – July 1995
‘Schools of the Future’ impact in Victoria
Submitted 2 July 1995 to the Minister for Schools, Vocational Education and Training, Australia, the Hon. Ross Free
In the Federal Parliament on 30 March 1995, Minister Free said, “The Commonwealth is committed to ensuring that all young Australians receive an education which is both full and relevant” (Hansard: p. 2575). In the HSV submission, concern was expressed about some of the changes currently occurring in Victorian state school education under the “Schools of the Future” program. We quoted several public reports and statements by teachers, some of whom are HSV members.
Some of the points raised were the following.
- The increase in class sizes, due to severe funding, are especially detrimental to:
- the very young who need individual attention from their teacher, and
- effective science teaching where practical activities require individual access and supervision, for both safety as well as good educational outcomes.
- With the policy of schools having their “own curriculum choice”, vital subjects (e.g., social education, human relationships, and citizenship, which in our view are essential components of a modern education), are deleted. This loss creates a lack of uniformity in basics.
- Unregulated privatisation of schools has detrimental effects on equity in education.
- Corporate sponsorship increases the inequality between and within school systems. It is also inconsistent and unreliable.
- School levies on library services, access to learning technology, and educational outings, seriously disadvantage children of the poor.
- Cuts to special services for those with learning difficulties, for the homeless among school children, for prevention of bullying and violence, are all false economies that create long-term, costly consequences.
- Potential for nepotism has been created by the new powers given to principals to hire, fire and promote teachers.
- Commonwealth grants to schools for special services, such as ESL, should be needs-based and not allocated to wealthy schools.
- More than ever, good basic, generalist education is needed to offset the steady reduction in unskilled jobs.
Published: Victorian Humanist, July 1995: 4