The release of the OECD’s Education Policy Outlook in Australia further underlines the need for serious education reform in all areas of Australia’s education system.
According to the report, Australia continues to perform at or above OECD average in PISA. However, this performance has been in steady decline across reading, mathematics, and science.
Minister Jason Clare MP said that this report “confirms the equity issues and teacher workforce challenges we face, particularly in early childhood education and school classrooms.”
“While the report shows we have a good education system by international standards, we know that it should be a lot better and a lot fairer.”
The OECD report provides a valuable international perspective and will inform future reform efforts.
it is expected that this report will also help the review into the next National School Reform Agreement (NSRA) led by Dr Lisa O’Brien.
The report also shares common themes with the Productivity Commission’s final report on the NSRA, which was scathing in its criticism of the current agreement.
Minister Clare observed:
‘”The current school agreement lacks key targets and, most importantly, the real practical reforms that we need to tie future funding to. The next agreement will fix this. We will ensure future funding is tied to reforms that will make a real, practical difference.”
The report notes that if a child belongs to a poor family, or from the bush, or an Indigenous family then they are three times more likely to fall behind at school.
Minister Clare says:
“We must turn this around…we have great teachers who are viewed positively by their students, but we don’t have enough of them and too many are leaving the profession early.”
The report notes that Australia has a robust evaluation culture across all education levels, and the Commonwealth Government and States and territories work together to implement a national evaluation and assessment framework.
Since 2013, Australia has been transitioning to a needs-based school funding model, which includes a basic financial contribution for each student, and six needs-based loadings.
The Labor government is confident that the NSRA review will build on the work already underway under the National Teacher Workforce Action Plan.
The NSRA is a joint agreement between the Commonwealth, states and territories, designed to lift student outcomes in Australian schools and is due to deliver a report to federal, state, and territory education ministers in October.