Why Australia Must Invest In Education For Its Poorest Communities
Education shapes a person into an effective member of society; it enlightens the minds and allows people to contribute in a better manner towards their society. Education, therefore, is the key to the progress of nations in the modern world. Education can be defined in different ways, but a general definition would simply be that Education is a process that allows an individual to learn new skills and gain knowledge that allows him or her to become a better and more productive member of the society.
The ultimate aim of Education is, therefore, to be productive and useful for the society, the level of Education for members of a society may differ, but even the person with the lowest level of Education in a society can be said to be a person who has gained some productive skill in order to contribute towards the society.
Education Plays a Key Role in the Development
When we look at nations and countries, we can see that Education plays a key role in the development and advancement of any nation. The population of any country is simply the labour force that is available to that country, and if the quality of the labour available to any country is good, then that country can progress at a faster rate as compared to a nation with a low quality of labour.
This quality of labour is determined by the level of Education that the people of a country have. This is the key difference between the developed world and the developing world. The population level is higher in the developing world as compared to the developed world, so if economic prosperity was possible simply by strength in numbers then the countries with the high levels of the population should have been developed countries by now, but we can see that the countries with relatively less population are the developed ones and this means that when it comes to community, it is not about the strength in numbers, but the quality of labour that any country has got that is the decisive factor.
Therefore countries that invest in the Education of their population not only have a higher quality of labour force but their rate of economic growth and development also tend to be higher. Australia, fortunately, is a country that has got a very robust education system. Education sector is the third biggest sector in terms of export as Australia sees a lot of international students who come to Australia for their higher studies.
There are, however, still some deficiencies in the education system that need to be ironed out so that our education system can become more efficient. The most pressing problem that the Australian education system is facing right now is one of inequality and unequal allocation of resources.
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Funding for Schools in Australia
A deep study done by ABC News revealed that there is a growing discrepancy between the funding of schools in Australia. Independent schools are the ones that receive the highest level of both public and private funding, followed by Catholic schools and lastly Public schools that cater for the highest number of students receive the lowest level of funding.
This means that those who cannot afford t send their children to private schools are at a disadvantage because children at private and Catholic schools have access to better resources, more qualified teachers and a better learning environment whereas students who attend Public schools are at a disadvantage as they do not have access to all the same facilities that have been mentioned above.
The ABC news story covers the dilapidated state of the Sheidow Park Primary School where the principal states that several of the classrooms have got carpets with big holes, the carpet of the staffroom has worn out and needs replacement, the cemented floors have got cracks and need to be repaired, but the school cannot afford to carry out all of the repairs at the same time, so they usually have to decide on what needs to be repaired on the priority basis.
This is the example of just one public school that is underfunded when it comes to recurring revenue expenditure, such schools can forget about capital expenditure. The playgrounds were built over 20 years ago, and there has been no significant capital expenditure on the school ever since. The report states that
“Sheidow Park Primary is one of more than 1,300 schools across Australia that spent less than $100,000 on new facilities and renovations while the nation’s four richest schools spent roughly $100 million — each.”
This is the problem; it isn’t that the Australian schools are underfunded, no the problem is that some schools are overfunded at the expense of others, and whenever you have this type of bias or inequality you get to see problems down the line because what this will do in the long run is that it will create a greater class divide in the Australian society.
Equitable Allocation of Resources
There is, therefore, a need for accountability and more just and equitable allocation of resources. Funding some schools more than others is simply not justified. Australia is in dire need of education reforms that need to address the discrepancies in funding.
The private schools are catering for the upper class, and they can simply afford better and costly Education but it is the masses cannot afford such costly Education and have to rely on public schools because providing equal Education is first and foremost the responsibility of the state. The state, therefore, needs to invest on priority basis on Education, especially on public schools that have been underfunded to bring them at par with private and Catholic schools in order to balance out the discrepancies and ensure that every Australian child grows up with equal opportunities.
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