Education standards falling – researcher
THE gap between Australia’s top and bottom students is growing as national education standards slip, says the author of a review into school funding.
Businessman David Gonski, who led a panel on education funding, says in the last decade Australia’s top students have continued to fall behind relative to international standards.
“The direction which we’re going is not good,” Mr Gonski has told a forum of disability advocates in Sydney.
“The division between the top and the bottom of our students is getting more marked.”
Mr Gonski declined to comment on whether he believes the federal Government would help achieve his proposal for Australian governments to commit an extra $5.4 billion a year to lift student performance.
“I don’t think it’s for me to judge that,” he told journalists.
Earlier, he told the forum that $5 billion was a relatively small amount of money.
“I accept that $5 billion is not for the faint-hearted; it’s a big number but let’s put it in context,” says Mr Gonski.
“It is just under 15 per cent of the money spent on education in 2009; it is also less than half of 1 per cent of the GDP of Australia.”
Parliamentary Secretary for School Education, Jacinta Collins, says the extra school funding is contingent on state and territory governments.
“The Commonwealth isn’t in a position to make any specific commitment until we have the discussions and negotiations with states and territories,” Senator Collins told journalists.
Mr Gonski defended the use of 2009 National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) data to analyse student performance and propose a model to increase school funding.
It found that only 16 per cent of all schools, government and independent, meet the national minimum standards for literacy and numeracy.