Australian Students Falling Through the Gaps
26 October 2015 at 9:27 am
One in four young Australians have not attained a Year 12 or vocational equivalent by age 19, according to a landmark national study.
The Educational Opportunity in Australia 2015 report, released on Monday by the Mitchell Institute and Victoria University, found that Australia’s education system was not working well for 25 per cent of children.
The report also found that disadvantaged young people were more likely to live in areas where early childhood services meet national standards less often, and schools are not well resourced.
Mitchell Institute Director, Dr Sara Glover, said the findings confirmed that there were significant differences in the educational opportunities offered to some young people.
“There are many positive opportunities offered by our education systems in Australia, particularly the capacity for some young people who are struggling at one milestone to catch up later on,” Dr Glover said.
“But overall, the findings show that Australia’s education system is simply not working for a substantial number of young Australians and unlike other comparable countries, like Canada and New Zealand, our current education model is actually compounding educational disadvantage, instead of addressing it.”
Glover said Australia was failing to realise the potential and talents of too many young people.
“Many parents and teachers know this, and they know that the education and training system has to change to develop capable, adaptable and confident young people,” she said.
“This is essential for our economy, our global standing and for the wellbeing of communities across Australia. Other countries have already embarked on these changes. Australia risks slipping behind if we don't change our priorities and make our education and training system the best it can be.”
Lead author of the report, Professor Stephen Lamb, said while it was known that some young Australians struggled to achieve as they negotiated school, study and work, the research helped people to better understand the scale of the challenge.
“Through this study we can pinpoint who is missing out on the opportunities education can provide and at what stage,” Professor Lamb said.
“We can also see that it is possible for young people who are missing out to gain ground; but the system makes it so much harder for disadvantaged students.”
The full report can be downloaded here.